Archive for January, 2013

“…As Visionary and Victim”

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

The Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia, starts with an excerpt from Peggy Noonan. In which Noonan notes President Obama’s “logical inconsistency of his argument.” Then she takes the discussion down a slightly different, more scrutinizing direction:

Beyond these inconsistencies of thought, we see this grousing, put-upon president prince who will not negotiate with anyone (because no one’s ideas are as correct as his) and who is annoyed that his subjects won’t just do as they’re bid.

Well, the grousings are an Obama standard that no one in the press likes to call him on, but beyond that is this conceit that Obama and only Obama is ever dealing with anyone in good faith; everyone else is devious and letting him down:

Two days later, unveiling his gun-control plan at a White House event, it wasn’t only Republicans in Congress who lie: “There will be pundits and politicians and special-interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical all-out assault on liberty, not because that’s true but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves. And behind the scenes, they’ll do everything they can to block any common-sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever.”

No one has good faith but him. No one is sincere but him. Doesn’t this get boring, even to him?”

This is the narrative for the next four years: the president as visionary and victim. Obama will attempt to utterly solidify that image on his inaugural day when he takes the oath of office, while using not one but two bibles — because if a little symbolism is good, a little more is better.

The point of the bibles is not their content but their character. One belonged to Abraham Lincoln, the great Emancipator. The other belonged to The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, the great Civil Rights leader. Both were visionaries and victims. The message of this startlingly illiberal president, whose second terms appears geared toward the narrowing of our rights, is: “I’m one of these guys; I am their standardbearer and their culmination, the third person of the trinity of American freedom.”

Whoo boy. We’re in for quite a ride on that ego. Obama may well be a visionary of sorts — he is certainly a cunning campaigner who effective lays waste to his opposition while he pursues his intent to “fundamentally changes” America — but a president operating with the full-on assistance of an unquestioning and complicit press, one that has become more of a Ministry of Information than anything else, is hardly a victim, except perhaps of his own personal demons.

Hat tip to blogger friend Rick.

This is rather frightening, at least to me. It prognosticates a future that is entirely believable, or at least cannot be rejected out of hand, after reconstructing a recent past that gels with my recollection a bit too well for my own comfort.

I recall that first televised debate in which Governor Romney “beat” President Obama. Wow, what a thrashing. Obama just stood there looking sullen, taking body blows, and it was so lopsided that someone started to wonder if it wasn’t some sort of strategy at work, as in: Ooh, look at that poor black skinny kid being treated so badly by the rich white guy. And then some among us who had heard this theory had to say…NO…that’s just crazy talk. This was a righteous beat-down and it looked like one. And if that is the plan, what a stupid plan. Well, given the outcome, evidently not. I’ve had to gradually come around to the idea that 1) this was a plan, it was executed well, and it was a good plan, so good that Obama might owe His second term to it; and 2) many among us were entirely blindsided by it because — this is important — the plan was concocted, and exercised, in an entirely different world from the one in which we live.

It is a dimensional rift, like something out of an old Outer Limits episode. The worlds are so far apart, that two inhabitants, one from each, may be standing right next to each other and neither would know.

It’s an Architects and Medicators thing. The Medicators, being in a state of constantly self-medicating, are preoccupied with feeling over thought and are therefore susceptible to feelings of jealousy. They are “Occupy[ing] Wall Street” in some way, each day, from crib to crypt. They like to think of this as rooting for the underdog, but it is a treacherously short pathway of travel from that laudable motive, to rooting for suspicious organizations & people for no reason in the world other than that they are thought to be the underdog. With the result being, yeah, someone completely smacked down the opposition at that first televised debate, to such a degree that they managed to determine the outcome of the race. But we know now that the victor was not Governor Romney. Obama picked up votes. Sympathy votes. Enough to win.

If Scalia is right, this was merely a prelude for what’s to come.

Well, such memes are like the “indestructible” rock under the water. You stand there and watch the water come down on it, it looks like nothing’s changing; but leave it alone for awhile, it’ll be slowly washed away. That is, if the water flows. Thus it is with “blame Bush.” We used to hear Obama blaming the results of His bad management and bad policies on “the last eight years” or “the previous decade,” more-or-less all the time. To those of us who recognize blame as a battle-cry of bad management, when we continue to hear Him do it some more, it seems like there’s been no slow-down at all, because we recognize it for what it is. But the constant heckling and criticizing have had an effect, His strategists have been compelled to use other techniques at their disposal. His antagonists have successfully elevated the cost in deploying the weapon, and they’ve had to ransacks the stockpile in search of another. There is a lesson here, for the skilled and perceptive general who wins a war after losing some battles.

It says something awful about President Obama that this was necessary in the first place. But the Medicators don’t see that, and they are His true constituency. For them, blaming is just as good as accomplishing something. They’re all about the drama.

Please, for the love of God, heckle the bejeezus out of this “I’m a victim” thing. I don’t think I can stand four solid years of it. Aw, crap, I think He’s got me doing it.

Unfortunate Names

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Someone’s having trouble getting with the times…

Google Juice

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Been on a bit of a wild tear lately about thinking errors. liberals seem to regard skill and proclivity to deceive, as some kind of a desirable individual quality; they appear to see all other individual skills and exceptional attributes, as bad things (which was a re-do of my earlier post about cockiness); they prioritize process over outcome as a result of seeing object representations, as the objects themselves; the general public, momentarily blessing the liberal solution, fails to question the intended end result of liberal policy; and, some among us are evidently operating under a detrimental doctrine of “Whoever does not behave exactly as I would, must not know anything.”

This is a bit of a jumbled mess of observations about liberals, and observations about politically uninvolved people who are in danger of becoming liberals. Perhaps there is a book in there if I just take the time to sort it all out. To such a book, however, I notice a sixth chapter would have to be added:

Knowledge as a contaminant. Yes, we’ve got quite a few people walking around among us, who seem to see knowledge as a liability rather than as an asset, and as a result of this they see the accumulation of knowledge as a crime one commits against himself and against society. Of course, I speak of unfriendly knowledge. Being a lib is all about wanting certain things to be done, and other certain things not to be done; therefore they want certain things to be concluded and not concluded, and in anticipation of this, we often see it emerge that they want certain facts presented but not other facts.

The size, shape, appendages, capabilities and behaviors of an unborn child — these would be among the very best examples I could offer. There are many others.

I was given cause to reflect on this when Ed Darrell pointed to a melee going on between Anthony Watts and Greg Laden, in a futile endeavor to show what a dumb, crazy, and generally bad guy Watts is supposed to be. It would be time-consuming and off-topic to go around gathering links to all else that is relevant to that, so I invite the reader to decide for himself how much background info he wants and peruse those three previous links. I recommend the Watts link, not because I see things more his way as contrasted with Greg Laden’s, but because of this eyebrow-raising statement from the latter:

It is against my blog policy to provide links to science denialist sites. It would be unethical for me to do that on a regular basis because it would enhance the google juice of pseudoscience. I’ve got children. I want them to grow up in a better world, not the world that Anthony Watts wants them to grow up in. So, no. Now and then, if necessary, I’ll link, but normally not.

You might be forgiven for interpreting that “if necessary” to mean something like, “if I’m specifically calling it out for criticism, as I’m doing with Anthony Watts.” Be advised that, no, it doesn’t work like that at all. Right. Now click on the Laden link. Yup…the whole point to the post is “Hey everybody, I hate something, come gather around and help me hate it.” No edification for the reader outside of that. “And then he did this, and then he did that, and then he did this other thing,” just like a third-grader squealing on another third-grader to the principal. It took me a minute or so to figure this out, the first time Darrell pointed to Laden, to buttress his own complaints against Watts. I made the mistake of accepting this information as a thinking person would, skimming through Laden’s critique against Watts, and after a time wondering “Okay, so those are his three complaints, now let’s go see if they’re accurate.” Link? Hey, something’s wrong. Where’s the link? There doesn’t seem to be a link.

So the first time, I was forced to go to Google and search for the Watts comments that Laden included in his screen-cap. I thought that was an error of omission on Laden’s part, and an honest one, until I was walked through the same experience a second time. Then I found the above-quoted “policy.”

Keep it SecretSo, Chapter Six of such a book: Liberals hate information, or something.

This is not an isolated case, although the global warming baloney is eminent as a compendium of examples. Liberals very often get into this mindset of: We know what the “right” thing to do is, and that thing will get done just as soon as we all agree and have the right opinions. Therefore, they labor tirelessly toward increasing the number of people who believe in the right things, and decreasing the number of people who believe the wrong things. From there, it is a simple conclusion on their part, that they should do everything possible to make sure the undesirable information never gets out.

You don’t have to read a lefty blog to find out about this. Blogger friend Phil made direct reference to it in his famous “Stop an Echo” post:

So I’m sitting around with family, and one conservative member mentions something he saw on Fox News.

A progressive member starts in with the passive-aggressive giggle of dismissal, and then the condescending “you mean you watch Fox News?”

And the conservative member says “Yup. Fair and balanced.”

More giggles. “Oh, gosh! Do you know how many lies they tell?”

Now normally when this progressive member disparages Fox News (this is certainly not the first time) I keep my mouth shut in the name of family harmony. Which I think, unfortunately, only re-enforces the idea in such people’s minds that their assertion is correct.

But I decided I needed to chime in this time. The giggles are one thing. The condescension I usually gloss over. But the “lies” thing. I wasn’t going to let that drop.

“No. I don’t know. Tell me a lie Fox News has told.”

Giggles. “Well I don’t watch it.”

“So you don’t watch it, but you know they tell lies? How do you know they tell lies?”

“Well I read somewhere…”

“You read somewhere? How do you know that wasn’t a lie?”

“Well I don’t. They all do it, that’s what I’m saying.”

It’s a conversation that could happen just about anywhere. And the lesson is unmistakable: You should not be watching it. Stop it! Stop it right now!

Now we come to the scary part: What exactly is it they are trying to accomplish? I made reference, years ago, to what I referred to as “The Fifty-Second Percent Problem”: Liberals don’t care about reaching the fifty-second percent of the population. Conservatives will very often recall Ronald Reagan as a better president than either one of the George Bushes, for a number of reasons, an important one among which is Reagan’s landslide victories. It is true that liberals will often recall FDR as a better president than Bill Clinton, but not because of electoral results. On average, you’d be hard pressed to find a liberal who even knows that Clinton failed to win a majority of the popular vote. They just don’t care about that. Swaying the sentiments of the population, while they see it as valuable, it nevertheless exists only as a means toward an end. Just get to 51 percent, win the election, get in there and get stuff done.

Perhaps this is a result of the understanding that conservative policy changes, once enacted, can be repealed. Overall, the same is not true of liberal policy changes. We’re stuck with ObamaCare for the duration, along with Medicare, Social Security, Americans with Disabilities Act, and all the rest of it. So I suppose it makes sense that liberals would envision a 51-percent victory as functionally synonymous with a 100-percent victory. Although, it’s still worthy of note, that there’s a 49-point spread there that they’re ignoring entirely. Or, perhaps the differential has to do with concerns, with the liberals concerned about their prospects for electoral victory, whereas the conservatives are more concerned about community health. In fact, here is an experiment that does a better job of getting to the point: Mention to a conservative that in the Obama era, consumer confidence is taking a tumble and only 17.6 percent of consumers expect business conditions to improve, he will invariably want to know what in the hell is wrong with that 17.6 percent, and why has the consumer confidence not altogether bottomed-out. And he may be sluggish about admitting it, but there will be something in his mind speaking softly to him: Could it be they know something he doesn’t know? Contrary to stereotype, he’ll be open to it. The liberal, also contrary to the type, is entirely missing this. If some percentage of the population disagrees with him, all he cares about is whether it’s on the south side of the magic fifty percent. As far as who’s right and who’s wrong, that was settled already quite awhile ago. No need to ponder it at all.

And so, we have Laden’s concerns about “Google juice.” He wants his kids to grow up in a better world, and so he doesn’t want to provide Google juice to bloggers who say things he doesn’t like, even if they’re true. I’m left to conclude that, like many liberals, he’d rather have a monologue than a dialogue. Nobody disagreeable should have anything to say. Maybe our Constitution won’t smile upon that, but nevertheless it is a goal: “Denialists” should not be heard, by anybody. Laden’s kids need to grow up in a good world.

I wonder how many people agree with that vision, and also agree with what I’ve heard liberals say more than my share of times: “There is no point to continuing this discussion, I can see you don’t have [what it takes to learn the right things].” Perhaps I should take this at face value. But then, I’ve also heard it said that this is what liberals say when they’ve been beaten, much like a video game character having a certain defined sound it makes when it dies. Well humility is a good thing, so I try to take it at face value. But the ramifications involved are a bit scary: They are to labor, tirelessly, toward a situation in which “everybody agrees” about what is wrong and what must be done; I do not have what it takes to see what is wrong and what is to be done; so the question naturally arises. What is to become of me, and others who lack the mental fortitude and faculties necessary to come around?

The fifty-second-percent problem, as I see it, is our only hope. The only means by which our mere survival can be reconciled with the liberal dream of building that utopia. Forty-nine percent is equal to zero, in their minds, and so we skeptics and deniers and slope-foreheaded conservatives, perhaps, will be allowed to continue living and breathing and consuming resources, milling about, so long as we stay at 49 percent or below. So long as we cannot have any influence on anything.

And, we should not forget to pay our taxes. Work. Produce. Comply. Do what is expected of us. But if we make any actual decisions, be it about public policy or about our private lives, and those decisions have any kind of an effect, there’s something bad happening and it must be fixed.

They do seem to have some cosmetic respect for the privacy of decisions made at the individual level, about private and individual things, in certain isolated cases. Medical situations? Probably not. They like individual decisions when they have something to do with gay marriage, which is not necessarily a medical thing. They don’t like it when it has to do with buying your own “Cadillac” medical plan, as we see with ObamaCare. It must be sex; they like it when the individual’s wishes prevail against the desires of the community or state, when what is being decided has something to do with sex. I wonder if that’s just a way of granting the waiver exclusively to non-conservatives. Anyone who’s watched more than a couple hours of made-for-cable-teevee movies knows, conservatives never have sex, except for the mundane, obligatory, non-pleasurable purpose of making more conservatives.

Good Faith?But meanwhile, to bring about this happy state of Nirvana, some information should flow and some information should not. In fact my experience has generally shown that when discourse takes an ugly turn, this is almost always the point where it happens: The liberal wishes to play the part of lawyer arguing against the admission of evidence. The argument is not about the conclusion to be reached, it is about whether all the evidence should be factored in to a sensible conclusion, as the conservative prefers, or whether some of it should be stenciled out for whatever reason, as the liberal prefers. I guess that is correct, once it’s figured out that a truly informed individual, aware of all the aspects of a certain policy debate, will side against the desired, more leftward, course of action to be taken. Liberals are adept at thinking in strategic, military terms when advancing the interests of their ideology — even if they don’t think that way when looking after the country’s — and of course, no decent general worth his salt is going to invite resistance. So the information has to be restricted, this part just makes good, logical sense.

What truly mystifies me about this, though, is that some of these “relative at the Thanksgiving table” liberals, laboring tirelessly to put out this propaganda about Fox News telling lies and so forth — they will insist that they’re doing a great job of arguing in good faith. And, to all appearances, believe it right down to the marrow of their bones. This creates a whole plethora of questions. To “prove” the point they seek to make, they want some of the information to be heard and other information not to be. They think of themselves as injured, in some way, if they themselves come to be aware of the contraband information; they themselves want to be educated only about a portion of what is really going on.

Past conversations with Ed Darrell have revealed he has a second “death sound,” another utterance he’s inclined to make when he loses an argument: He makes reference to Dunning-Kruger, the theory, research work, and Nobel Prize award that says when people are incompetent at something, their incompetence at that thing also interferes with their ability to recognize their own incompetence. (It was inspired by a bank robber who’d heard lemon juice smeared on your face can distort the images picked up by security cameras. He took the time to test the theory out before trying it, but his suckage as a bank robber spilled over into his suckage as a tester-of-video-distortion-methods, so he was under the impression he’d “proven” the method is effective, when he hadn’t, and that’s how he got caught.)

Perhaps Dunning Kruger also applies to arguing in good faith. Ever since this wonderful new Internet era of communication has dawned, it’s become evident a lot of people think they’re doing a great job of digesting all information relevant to an issue, and presenting it for others, while deliberately remaining unaware of all but a part of it. And working hard to keep others unaware. This Laden character, apparently, wishes to have it known far and wide that he is among these. As noted above, it doesn’t seem that they’re insincere about this, nor do I see any evidence that they’re trying to deceive anyone about their intentions. They just want to hide things.

Perhaps that is the answer. They aren’t arguing in good faith, because they are bad at doing it, and their ineffectiveness at this also makes them ineffective at recognizing their own ineffectiveness. This leads them to think of one thinker, having mastered only half of the relevant facts, as better “informed” than another thinker who has heard all of the arguments heard by the other, plus some. In simpler terms, they think some of the information must be negative. You’re smarter if you don’t know it. Better informed if you’ve never seen it. A library or other repository of information, is more “full” when it’s missing it.

It’s an interesting attitude. We should study it. If they let us, that is, which is probably a no-go.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Rotten Chestnuts.

The Elements of Style…

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

…should be renamed to “Just stop using any style that isn’t exactly like ours.”

Some folks may be shocked by this, but not everyone is fond of Strunk & White.

However, before I join in on the assault, let’s get something out of the way. As far as that particular critique goes, I’m actually on Strunk & White’s court in the matter on which it spends great volume and intensity picking them apart, which is the active voice versus passive voice. Even here, though, I am not concerned about “style” so much as I am about the method of thinking that finds a way, through the style, to achieve visibility. The professors do not examine this. But “America is seen as a colonialist force,” apart from possessing very bad style and therefore offending the tender sensibilities of Strunk and White, skips past the logical vitals of the point being made, to wit: Who is seeing America that way? This promotes lazy thinking.

The speaker might as well say “No, I didn’t take a poll, but let’s just skip ahead to the fun part where I get to monologue away about what’s wrong with this country that I don’t like.” Like I said. Lazy. So I side with them there.

But what follows is just dumb (Chapter V. Words and Expressions Commonly Misused). It is not in keeping with the goal of making the material easier to read:

However. In the meaning nevertheless, not to come first in its sentence or clause.

The roads were almost impassable. However, we at last succeeded in reaching camp.

The roads were almost impassable. At last, however, we succeeded in reaching camp.

When however comes first, it means in whatever way or to whatever extent.

However you advise him, he will probably do as he thinks best.

However discouraging the prospect, he never lost heart.

“However, we at last succeeded in reaching camp.” That is flagged as flawed material, upon which the professors’ advice may improve. There isn’t a thing in the world wrong with it, although I might have said “we eventually reached camp.”

There are not too many other specific points made in this guidebook with which I ardently disagree, and I do think there is some opportunity here for writers to improve on their work by perusing it from top to bottom, as a list of pet peeves, bees in the bonnet of someone who’s taken the time to write them all down. But that is all they are. There seems to be something in the human condition, when we see someone’s taken the time to write down preferences that have not been explored in much detail elsewhere, we see such a tome as some kind of a “bible.” This is incorrect. The little-white-book is nothing more than a matter of taste. Some parts of it making for better advice than other parts of it, but…well, there it is. A higglety-pigglety hodge-podge of sensible advice, and some stranger’s stylistic preferences.

Maybe I should put together a list of what bugs me about teevee commercials. As long as nobody else compiles anything similar, people will start to see it as a bible. No offending jingles! Get rid of the doofus dads! Freeberg doesn’t like ’em!

At a high level, I’m not enamored of the preferences. The overarching goal, making things easier for the reader, seems to be met by way of texturing all the writing within a chapter or section so that it adheres to a common rhythm, much like the rhythm of a lullaby must be kept constant so that the baby is lulled into sleep. This business with “at last, however, we succeeded in reaching camp” is a perfect example of what I seek to describe here. It is measurably harder to read than its alternative, in that it has an extra comma. But to Strunk, White, and people who seek a reading experience similar to what they seek, it is more pleasing because its rhythm is constant with the sentence that came before. Well guess what…there are other kinds of readers out there. I’m not pleased or proud of my writing when it looks like that. That looks, to me, like I was distracted by the point I wanted to get across, and I wasn’t putting my attention on the sentences I was putting together. It looks like I’m abusing the reader. In short, it looks like bad writing.

I do think students should study this. In fact, I think they should study it years and years before they are customarily compelled to do so. Fifth or sixth grade would be about right. I’ll even go so far as to say, where the advice makes sense, and through my negligence I have produced something inconsistent with it, on occasion an improvement might be achieved by bringing my product into compliance. But people tend to forget these rules are soft, and not hard.

And I notice, throughout a great many years, when people recommend to me that I should “pick up a copy” they entirely leave out details. They don’t point to any particular paragraph or sentence in my work that has violated a recommendation in the little white book, nor do they point to any particular chapter or page in the little white book that specs the rule. Frankly, this comes across looking like “I was nagged for a long time by my editor/professor, and it chaps my hide that you appear to have escaped my misery,” classic crabs-in-a-bucket mentality. But apart from that, the lack of detail is rather unhelpful. I’m left to peruse my own manifesto from top to bottom, and then Strunk & White from cover to cover, and go “Ah ha! I better fix that!” And frankly, I have better things to do with my time. Like, revising “butkus” to its proper spelling of bubkes…meeting the rules that are, y’know, genuine actual rules.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

They Have Nothing to Do With Lincoln

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Not Accepting the Premise of Piers Morgan’s Question

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

…and she shouldn’t, because the premise is a false one. Mr. Morgan must presume, for his question to make any sense at all, that the citizens are prohibited from doing anything the Constitution does not specifically enable them to do. He has “no problem” (6:06) “with Americans who defend themselves in their homes with a handgun, or a pistol, or a shotgun. I have a major problem, as you know, with the more military style assault weapons.”

So. Find me where in the Second Amendment it says “except when Piers Morgan has a major problem with it.”

Piers’ position is not distinguishably different from that of the airhead in the blue blouse in this cartoon:

“I’m going to be generous and allow six bullets in a gun, but that is my final offer” (1:19).

Lesson: We can have a government under a written constitution, or under the minute-to-minute feelings of the majority. Pick one of those two.

I think I understand why a lot of people are concluding Piers Morgan lost this one, like he lost the other times. He seems awfully determined to lower a “smack down” of some kind (“have you watched the video? I’ve watched the video…he didn’t die”). This is probably because he’s nursing some bruises from his previous defeats. But he ends up talking-over the other person, worse than Bill O’Reilly’s most obnoxious day, and what he ends up demonstrating is that it’s awfully difficult to tell him anything.

And I see this happens with liberals engaging in Internet conflicts, whether I’m involved in them at the time, or perusing the wreckage afterward. They may very well be the smartest little Internet-arguers who ever did walk the planet, and Piers Morgan might very well be some kind of Cancer-curing rocket-scientist genius…but none of them seem to understand, that doesn’t matter. If we can see with our own eyes that you can’t be told anything, then the logical thing to conclude is that you don’t know very much. It just naturally follows.

It’s like those TIE fighter pilots in the Galactic Empire, at the end of the first Star Wars movie, firing torpedoes into the exhaust port of their own Death Star. Because their own planet-destroying indestructible battle-armored argument is one of: “Trust me, a complete stranger you just met on the Internet, because I’m really super-duper smart and I really know what I’m talking about.” And then they think they’ve managed to buttress that, by demonstrating that they’ve been doing some studying, and proceeding in the exchange without misspelling anything.

But it all falls apart when they show how difficult it is for anyone to give them information that isn’t welcome.

The ObamaPhone Lady Learned

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

What’s this say about the people who haven’t?

From Moonbattery.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Homeowner Restores Order With Shotgun

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

From what I’m seeing here, looks like the weapon was not discharged. The brandishing of the firearm was good enough to put right what went wrong.

From Barracuda Brigade.

Memo For File CLXXVII

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013


There exists a thread about global warming, in which someone said something pretty damn enlightening and educational. This has sent a jolt through the long-dead four hundred plus comments long thread, which had previously been lying dormant for half a year. Much of the rest of it is stupid. After everyone’s said their piece and the thread lies still for a little while, I’ll do another post on the good stuff that was added.


There exists another thread about global warming, kicked off when someone was talking smack about Anthony Watts and I lowered myself to ask them what specifically got them all honked off. That led to a debate about whether Al Gore is a hypocrite, which is a bit like debating the wetness of water…nevertheless this thread, like the other one, remains lively. Unlike the other one though, which is mostly stupid, this one is all-the-way stupid.


The two global-warming-thread flare-ups occurred within just a couple days of each other. I know I was present when both happened (in one case I kicked things off, but in a respondent role, and in the other case I did not kick anything off because I was just minding my own business), and the evidence I have on these events is therefore empirical. It says these two events are entirely isolated. But I cannot shake the suspicion given the track record of the lefty propaganda machine — everything is synchronized, coordinated. “Gravitas,” remember that?

And so, I have tentatively concluded: The first part of 2013 is the time for the left to wage battle in the social media, on the climate change front. For whatever reason. Someone, I think, has decided that and then yelled “go.” I have that just penciled in and am ready to rub it out at any time, but it is a trifecta in play. Lefties have a rep for thinking and acting much like fire ants, and so that is how I think of them.

Something is missing, from these observations, though…can’t quite place it. Or I couldn’t, until…


ConstitutionAmerica’s First Holy President today signed twenty-three executive orders infringing upon our right to keep and bear arms, something the second amendment says is not supposed to happen. Sen. Marco Rubio had some words to say about this apart from the obvious violation of the oath to defend the Constitution. The comment he made that drew my eye, had to do with the cosmetics of the occasion:

Rubio, often mentioned as a likely 2016 presidential candidate, said it would have been better if [President] Obama had decided to announce his proposals without being accompanied by children. Obama was joined at the press conference by children who wrote to the president in response to the December shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that resulted in 26 dead.

“I think ultimately he has a right to do that, and I understand he has a right to do that,” Rubio said. “I think most of us would have preferred if it just had been a straightforward address to the country because it implies that somehow those of us who do not agree with his public policy prescriptions don’t equally care about children.”

It was almost like hearing, or feeling, something go “click” in the back of my head. You have to agree with the President’s proposals…or else, you don’t care about children. Mulling this over, I managed to get this all wrapped up into a nice tight ball with the loose ends whacked off or tied up. And I’ll explain how, if the reader will permit me just a few more paragraphs to ramble in the wilderness before bringing it back in…


I’m still rebuilding the wire shelving in the garage. My wife and I are among the very few tenants in this complex who abide by the rules, that garages are there for storing cars, and not stuff. We actually store both, or we did, until a day or two after Christmas. Now we are temporarily violating the rule. The stuff is neatly stacked on the walls, all the way up to the ceiling, thanks to the wire shelving — which collapsed on me. My son and I were getting in to the car to go get my Dad from the airport, right before my wedding. After over five years stable, the shelving picked that exact moment to collapse, chain reaction style, trapping the car. I successfuly extricated the car the following morning but I’m still cleaning up the mess.

In so doing, I’m making a post mortem on the disaster and learning a lot, which dovetails in unexpected ways with what’s examined above. The first culprit, I think, is time. The longevity of the structure I built, without maintenance events involving inspections for structural soundness, or methodical corrections. There are several scores of plastic nodules thrown to and fro by the collapse, and the condition of some of them suggests they were built to support limited weight for a limited time.

Oh but you heard plastic lasts three thousand years in a landfill, did you? Could very well be. But plastic in a landfill just lies around, whereas these nodules, with their tiny ridges, hold in place metal wire shelving, which in turn supports stuff like…fileboxes full of file folders, full of documents that are made from paper, cardboard, and heavy, heavy filmy paper rich with petroleum products. Thirty to forty pounds a piece on those, would be a good guess.

I notice a pattern within the destruction. My assembly of shelving is a mix of brands, some of which package the ugly gray plastic nodules with ugly gray racks of shelving, others of which include pretty white plastic nodules with pretty white shelving. I never did mix the ugly gray plastic with pretty white wire, or vice-versa, and that was a good decision I made. Now, I can see the pattern: Disaster descends upon the parts wherein a heavy load is supported by the pretty white stuff. The ugly battleship-gray stuff doesn’t fail anywhere, even where it supports a heavy load.

Conclusion: There are unwritten load capacities in play here, determined by unwritten design intentions. The decisions I made in construction five years ago, involved a mix of good and bad engineering decision on my part, brought about by these design specs I did not read because I didn’t have them. With the benefit of hindsight I can see I’m working with workshop & garage shelving, intermixed with pretty white stuff intended for more dainty work. Think, providing cubbyholes for adorable stuffed animals in a sorority sister’s dorm room, stuff like that. Fileboxes stored in these, invites calamity. Fileboxes stored in the battleship gray stuff, does not.

Now, here is where we tie all this stuff together:

The global warming malarkey has been bugging me for a long time, especially when we get into these knock-down drag-out back-n-forth things on the Internet. It’s not that the alarmists continue to call me an idiot, although they certainly do that. And it isn’t just me, it’s anybody who doubts what they say. It’s how they so conclude. They produce a study that says A, someone else produces a study that says not-A. A good example would be, we’re still in the middle of a discernible warming trend. As the conversation ensues and the details are teased out, it seems there is opportunity for a complete picture to be assembled of what’s really happening with the measurements being made, and how the resulting statistics are generated and then analyzed. One naturally hopes that with all the discrepancies suitably explained, each side can stop calling the other side a bunch of idiots. But it never seems to go in that direction.

The thought process I see from the climate change alarmists, is one of: Repeat exactly what we say, the way we say it, using the words we use. Or else we’ll call you dumb and stupid.

It’s just like President Obama and the children. Behave this way…or else, if you behave any other way, you will be revealing certain things about yourself that are no to be doubted or dismissed, by anyone else. In that case, it’s that you don’t like children. In the case of global warming, it’s that you “don’t know science,” that you lack reasoning ability, or that you’re just an idiot. In some cases, the alarmists go so far as to bludgeon and berate me and try to get me to echo back some of the things they’ve said, as if, by modifying my behavior, they can increase my intelligence.

Little do they know that, should they somehow succeed at this, I’m just going to head downstairs to my garage and do other unblessed, unsanctioned, unorthodox things. Like build wire shelving six units high. I’m a hopeless case, you see.

By now, I’ve rambled on about these seemingly unrelated items and how they connect together, so that the common connecting thread should be plain to see. But if it isn’t, I’ll state it outright: The proclivity among some, to use the behavior of others to assess their strengths and weaknesses that cannot be so easily known.

There is great danger involved in imposing such a litmus test, depending on the stakes involved.

I identify three such dangers.

One, using fidelity to some pre-defined behavior to determine the presence of a desirable personality/intelligence attribute, if said fidelity is detected, the attribute may be also detected when it doesn’t actually exist. In simpler terms, maybe the guy who agrees with you is really still just an idiot. This is a false positive.

Two, the opposite: If said fidelity is not detected, the attribute may be dismissed when it might actually be present. Maybe the guy who disagrees with you, or does things in a way differently from the way you’d do it, nevertheless has his reasons, and knows what he’s doing. This would be a false negative.

Three, the long-term effect: With repeated imposition of such an overly-simplified, behavioral-driven test to determine competence — over time, and especially within a large organization, independent thinking is going to be discouraged. Slavish, compliant group-thinking, on the other hand, will be not only encouraged, but become a survival strategy. We saw this with President Obama’s news conference today. It was exactly what Sen. Rubio said. Support Barry’s ideas or else you don’t care about the kids.

Some will protest, sensibly, that my error with the wire shelving was to build it that high in the first place; I should have known I was doing something wrong, by looking around and seeing nobody else is doing it. I agree, to the extent that I think the five-year use span was part of the problem. My plan was always to use them as temporary storage, to be replaced by the sturdier stuff intended for the tall-and-high purpose, within a week or two. Somehow that stretched out to the five years, and that’s when failure happened.

Toward the idea that the failure happened earlier — that the only way to win at the game is not to play — I have mixed feelings. There is a certain logic to this. Innovation can be problematic. I’ve seen for myself a lot of half-cocked plans put in place by people, mostly software coders, involving a bit too much cleverness and bringing no obvious advantage to the situation at hand. I myself have been accused of this. And it is my hope that I’m not guilty of it. But at the same time, I’m continually impressed by how far humans can err in the opposite direction. To me, the goalpost at the other end of the field is “not invented here”: Look around and see how many people are already doing what you’re thinking of doing, and if there isn’t anyone, stop in your tracks and reverse course. That is as hostile toward creativity as people can get, it isn’t possible for them to go further than that. And it boggles me how many people take it all the way, and how often they do it.

This is not a red-state blue-state thing, I should add. We red-staters think that way on a regular basis. At the gun range. We have a rule that all guns are loaded, all the time. Should we fortify our tethering to reality and do a good enough job inferring the state of the objects around us, of course we will “know” our guns are unloaded, and thus know when it’s okay to violate the other three rules: point the gun at things we don’t really want to destroy, leave our fingers on the triggers, don’t know our targets or what is behind them. But our rule is to not proceed in that direction. Rules is rules. It isn’t that we lack confidence in our ability to determine what’s going on. We don’t measure this in terms of percentage-correct, we measure it in terms of how many visits we can make to the range without an incident. That is, after all, what really matters. And we want that to be forever. We know we’re all sons of Adam, whose wife made him eat of the apple. All mortals are flawed. So we do not innovate. We assume that the simple chore of determining the gun is empty, is a chore that is beyond us, so that we never rely on it. That is how red-staters forsake independent thinking. We do it when it makes sense to do it.

Blue staters, on the other hand, turn their backs on it all the rest of the time. To them, all of my ruminating about white wire shelving and gray wire shelving, loads, terms of time, et al, is just one huge jaunt down a big bunny trail. The way it should work is the same way it works with global warming, and gun control. I look at established processes, stick to those, and engage in no independent thinking whatsoever because I do not need to. And because of that, it becomes a non-issue that the wire shelving packaging is stripped bare of any manufacturers’ recommendations about heights & weights. I don’t need to know that anymore. And there’s your model: I’m not doing anything new — I mean, ever — and so we have success, because my “need to know” has been whittled down to a nothing.

Creative solutions are not for mere mortals, they are for awesome wonderful superstars like Barack Obama and crew.

The rest of us are supposed to color within the lines. In building garage shelving, in forming opinions about climate change, in supporting extraconstitutional gun control initiatives — even in reporting the news. Yes, this is part of why liberals hate Fox News so much. Even when we learn things only from Fox, from which the other networks abstain from any mention, wherein over the long term the Fox report turns out to be true and relevant, they still see it as dirty. It only partly has to do with partisan politics, that they find the conclusions to be unfriendly. The rest of it has to do with drifting outside the orthodoxy.

EducationPerhaps this comes off as petty. Perhaps it is. But then again, perhaps I can state the problem in a more elegant, persuasive way, like: Think on your own experiences, when someone compares the behavior of another, or the behavior of you yourself, with some pre-established and pre-blessed “template” of the expected and proper behavior. Now, think of what this detection-of-difference entitles them to know — what conclusions they can form about character and knowledge deficiencies, truly supported by the evidence. Now think about what they actually conclude, how much they think they know about the other person. See the problem? Just thinking back on my own experiences with it, I don’t mind telling you, lately I’m just baffled. Blown away. Shocked. The display of lack of humility in situations like these. To say nothing of, the lack of doubt. “He was supposed to do this, instead he did this other thing, therefore I know he’s missing or misunderstanding…this.” No uncertainty, none whatsoever. Absolutely blows my mind.

Because let us be clear on this: Their understanding is not limited to “you should’ve done this, and instead you did that.” No, not by a long shot. They have an encyclopedic understanding of your character defects, your knowledge deficiencies, even your lack of sanity. They know it stem to stern, and they have no doubts about any of it. You. A complete and total stranger they met minutes ago, over the Internet. Amazing, innit?

This gets into a beef I have, shared by some others, about higher education. Compare the climate change research with building the wire shelving. As you read through my experiences and my thoughts on the matter, you may disagree with what I’ve figured out, and you may disagree with what I’ve done about it and where I’m taking things from this point forward. But what’s happening here is, I’m refining my process by way of learned experience. Since I’m past the point of following directions, that’s the only avenue available to me. It is an evolutionary process. I know my previous implementation was flawed, and I expect my next implementation may have some flaws. I improve it by learning from my experiences as best I can.

This is not possible with climate change, for the most part. All the smarmy kids who “know” that big oil is making our planet uninhabitable, simply regurgitate what they have been told. And they get ridiculed for it in some circles, but in other circles they have proven their smarts in this way — by mimicking — but in any case, they do not have any choice. They don’t have satellites. They don’t have weather balloons. They’re told what to think, and they learn it. That they learn it in great detail, with some comprehension of the concepts involved, they think is evidence of their superior intellect. Isn’t that cute? The poor dears.

But they’re not showing any independent thinking…nor can they, because of the subject they’ve chosen that excites them. Independent thinking means, figuring out what’s going on based on what is known; something they have outsourced entirely. From what has been figured out about what’s going on, we who think independently, then plan a course of action. That much is okay with our friends the liberals…but the course of action will be compared with a template. And from any discrepancies that are found there, we get into trouble. But it’s really they who are getting into the trouble.

Like I said, I can see some advantages about curtailing independent thinking that costs more than it nets, and complicates solutions needlessly. But I cannot go along with prohibiting it entirely, and that’s where they’re taking it. Unless your last name is Obama or Clinton.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

One Child’s Life

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Hee hee.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Liberals Pay an Extra Dollar

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

ThinkProgress is highly indignant over it, and you’ll see so are some of the comment-writer-complainers over at the YouTube channel.

“Highly offensive and inappropriate.” You’ve heard that if a conservative doesn’t like what’s on the radio, he turns the dial, whereas when a liberal doesn’t like it he wants the FCC to revoke the station’s license. Well I think, if a liberal-owned smoothie shop charged conservatives an extra dollar and used the surcharge to fund liberal causes, there wouldn’t even be any conservatives being quoted about it. Even if they were asked for their opinion — which, let’s be real, that would not happen — things would stay quiet, all the protesting would be done by foot.

Much of America’s conservative/liberal split, I’m convinced, has to do with our extended recovery process from the whiplash effect of mass communication. Conservatives tend to have a very narrow use for communication outside the immediate family: It all has to do with some vision, whether the vision is realized at the end of it or not, toward mutual benefit. Liberals are not similarly constrained. They’re constantly “raising awareness” of this or that pet social issue, so that “everybody” can “come together” for the benefit of some defined oppressed-class, or latest political rock star.

EASYSTATE is right, liberals are a massive drain on the economy. As well as, on technology. Had the mass communication revolution been solely under their management, the innovation would have stopped with the radio broadcast because it doesn’t serve their interests to have the exchange of information work in two directions. They’re much more comfortable with the monologue than with the dialogue.

And I’m just loving the homophobia and Utah-phobia in the rest of the comments…

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Seven Crappy Products of the Green Movement

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Pajamas Media:

In the good old days, consumers got what they wanted. Supply and demand governed product design and manufacturing, not causes or ideology. That’s why we have great American icons like the 1969 Chevy Camaro, the charcoal burning Weber grill, and DDT.

But things have changed. The Green Movement’s worship of scarcity has changed the consumer landscape for the worse. Instead of big, powerful, and most importantly, effective products, in 2012 consumers must suffer with pansy products. Sure, they are designed to save energy and make you feel good. But they just don’t work as well as the old, and usually cheaper, versions.

Not sure my experience backs up the comments about #4. But #6 really chaps my hide.

“Left Wing Problem Solving”

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Stephen Goddard at Real Science:

Lefties believe that they can stop bad weather, by accusing climate skeptics of taking money from Exxon.

They also believe that gangs in Chicago will stop killing each other, if Obama tries to disarm everyone in Wyoming.

Well, if they could exercise the discipline required to actually solve a problem, they wouldn’t be lefties, would they?


Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Around Christmastime, after the wife & I watched a biopic from 25 years ago about our nation’s 36th president, I described an important split:

Liberals aren’t liberals. Their class is necessarily divided into two hemispheres, both equally important, one enjoying the much larger share of influence and the other enjoying the much larger share of mass. The elites who possess the influence also possess a far superior understanding of the ultimate disastrous effect of liberal policy. In other words, they know that taking guns off the street does not make innocent people safer, and they know that offering special privileges to minority groups in hiring, contracting and college enrollment does not have a healing effect on racial, gender, and sex-preference divisions. They understand these policies do not do what they are supposed to do, and they even understand the entirely legitimate claims that the policies may in fact be achieving the reverse.

They don’t give a fig. They couldn’t care less.

The commoners, on the other hand, not only think that passage of the latest “landmark legislation” is all that is needed to achieve perfection and finally ascend to that plateau of Nirvana, but that if you argue or question the idea then you must be the stupid one. They are therefore constantly arguing for policies sure to produce disaster, deluding themselves into thinking the opposite, and in doing so making fools of themselves — again deluding themselves into thinking the opposite, that the subtle “nuanced” sense of irony makes them look like little smarty-pants or something. So they’re headed 180 degrees opposite from where they think, twice in a row, and all of the time. It isn’t that they really are that dumb; if they were, they wouldn’t be able to get dressed in the morning and go walking around. The problem is that they just don’t pay attention. They want to go in to the voting booth, poke the right chad, and have everything come out alright. They think the process is just like watching teevee, except the screen is a bit bigger and there are a bunch of other people fighting over the remote. Therefore, if it doesn’t go their way, or if it doesn’t go well, it is of no more consequence than last night’s round of channel-surfing failing to yield the proper satisfaction.

And that doesn’t bother them, they’d admit, if they were honest about it. What does a bad Tuesday night of surfing matter on Wednesday morning? Next to nothing, right? You need to have a few hundred of them, perhaps years’ worth, stacked up on top of each other before you even reconsider your cable subscription.

And so there are the apathetic, who know the policies are bad and don’t care, and the ignorant, who might care that the policies are bad if only they could be bothered to pay attention, but they can’t be, so they don’t know any better.

The apathetic elites, I named “strategists” in my Art of War Against Liberals post, dividing the ignorant commoners into ten other classes:

He has skin in the game. He is materially entangled in the liberal vision, being rewarded either out in the open or in secret, by way of cash, discounts, perks, votes or career advancement. He has a “job,” of sorts, to make himself and other liberals more powerful.

He therefore cannot be dissuaded.

The rift between this type, and the other ten, is the most precious asset we have. Do not engage this sort of poser in any direct way.

Accentuate, for the benefit of any bystanders, the differences between his interests and everybody else’s.

The rift between the apathetic elites, and the ignorant commoners, is “the most precious asset we have.” And therein lies the key. This is what was not emphasized to the public, before the democrats successfully retained the White House and the Senate. The democrats have their interests; the poor and middle class have theirs; who cares what’s what, if both sets of interests might be served by a common course of action? So re-electing democrats looks like a good idea. It didn’t work out that way, people saw, once they were issued their first paychecks of the year. But by then it was too late.

What’s the answer?

I got my idea when I caught wind of House Joint Resolution 15, “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President”. Okay, it has zero chance of getting past committee. And it isn’t clear that Congress has the authority to unilaterally repeal an amendment such as the 22nd, which is supposed to be an agreement between the feds, the states and the people. Nevertheless…

This defines the one question that might end the silliness, the question for which the apathetic elite strategists will have one answer, and the low-information commoner independent centrists will have the opposite one. Three words: What’s the endpoint?

The partisan democrat strategists simply don’t have one. They will resist the imposition of any limit. The term limit for the President is to be repealed and replaced with…nothing. Barack Obama is to serve as President forever and ever and ever, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Hallelujah. Is that sacrilegious? Tough, deal with it, we’re talking Obama the Replacement Jesus here. And knock off with this absurd ritual of putting Him up for re-election. He is our Emperor after all.

High CapacityI know this is all silly talk. But the questions should be asked. The elites have one answer for them, the commoners have the opposite answer, and the commoners deserve to know all about that even if the elites do not want them to. Besides, in all seriousness, from what I can tell so far the unstated answer is always to-infinity-and-beyond. Sultan Soetoro gets everything He wants, if the Constitution is in the way then it has to be nudged aside, if the situation all turns to crap then it’s some Republican’s fault. Lather, rinse, repeat. Good for Obama and democrats, bad for everybody else. And if we’re tired of talking about effects & outcomes, we then have to confront a wholly separate issue about this whole thing: It has long ago become tedious and boring. Round and round we go. Barack Obama wins all the arguments, it turns out badly, the talking heads on the teevee blame Republicans, and let’s all line up to do it again.

What’s the daily routine at 1600 Pennsylvania? President Obama should roll out of bed whenever He darn well feels like it, like a spoiled little kid…decide what the favorite color of the day is going to be for the whole country…if He feels like it. And then a round of golf while the rest of of us trudge off to the salt mines. Again, if He feels like it. It should be like a real-life re-enactment of the Good Life episode of the Twilight Zone.


Republicans should do this with every fight they’ve lost. ObamaCare, Fiscal Cliff, Cash for Clunkers, Stimulus. The House Speaker can’t negotiate with the President, so everyone should stop expecting him to. Give the President what He wants. But — always insist on an answer to the question: Is this the end of it, or is more needed? I heard a few months back there’s a movement afoot to get another stimulus going. So, question, again: How about it? How big is the second one going to be? How about a third one?

That’s probably the best way to kick off some visible discussion about endpoints; make that the default response to everything, that President Obama has asked for action on exactly the right thing, in the right direction, but maybe not enough of it. Raise the federal minimum wage to twelve bucks an hour? Right you are, Mister President, but shouldn’t it be more like twenty? Raise the highest marginal income tax rate to thirty-nine point six? Maybe sixty percent is the better rate, why did you stop where Clinton did? You’re better than he was, aren’t You? Outlaw high capacity magazines? Why not outlaw low capacity magazines as well?

Speaking of guns, I see the President is “facing criticism” on the executive orders thing. That does not mean it is political suicide; Barack is a big boy, He’s handled hot potatoes before. But it is obvious that this situation is tolerable to the nation only because its citizens, apart from those interested in buying guns or ammunition, remain unaffected. Nobody else is experiencing the frustration of waiting for Barry to pace around in a room somewhere, mull it over in His Holy Noggin, and figure out who He wants to wish out to the cornfield. It’s a whole different kettle of fish if everyone has to wait and wonder. People don’t see how risible the whole arrangement is, if it doesn’t affect them personally. When it does, that’s when “separation of powers” starts to look like a swell idea. Hey, someone should write that down on a piece of parchment or something…

You ever argue with one of these libs? These “strategists”? I say not to engage them; I don’t always follow my own advice here. When I don’t, it ends up being a waste of energy and time. I’ll tell you where it all goes: They don’t know anything about anything, except one thing, and that is who among us is leveraging influence, and should not be able to. That’s all they’re willing to define, for all the blustering they do about having the answer to all our problems: Who should be ostracized, who should be defrocked of power or position. Who should be exiled. Who should be stopped. Stop the religious people from obstructing abortion. Stop the gun nuts from buying their guns. Stop the conservatives from doing…whatever it is they do…which is what? Voting? I think the answer is voting. Whoever disagrees with liberals shouldn’t be able to vote. They don’t say so because they don’t have to say so. The question never gets asked. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. So ask the question. If it isn’t asked, the ignorant commoners are left with the impression that the apathetic elites agree with them about everything when this is not the case. This serves the interest of nobody save for the apathetic elites.

To coin a phrase, we need a national dialogue on the endpoint. We need an open discussion on how far the democrat-party loyalists want to take…well…everything. It is the proper and fair thing to do. And it’s relevant, because lately they’ve won a lot more than they’ve lost. Well, there’s a burden that goes along with that. If the locomotive is charging onward, full steam ahead, then it is good for the nation to know where the tracks are laid down — and how far.

Seven Thousand

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Matters of Parallax, and Process Over Outcome

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

In comments under a previous post, rhjunior puts it all together, it’s one of my Mother’s favorite stories about the three blind men and the elephant (although, behind the link, I see it has become six blind men).

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.”

They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant.

“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.

“Oh, no! it is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.

“Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.

“It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.

“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.

“It is like a solid pipe,” Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and everyone of them insisted that he was right…

The poster of the comment seems to wonder why I rambled on instead of linking to the story, then adds this pithy summation: “…[T]he liberal thinks that the only one that was wrong — was the elephant.”

There’s a simple reason why I chose not to link to the story. As we relate the situation to real life, we here in reality are lacking the luxury of a wise, sighted guru happening along and filling us in on what an elephant looks like. Everyone mortal is effectively “blind.” Which matters to us, since this is the House of Eratosthenes, who is some guy who lived thousands of years ago and figured out the size of the Earth by following clues. Not, House of some guy who was getting in nerd-fights with other guys before some wise sage or deity made the time to tell him the whole story so the fighting would stop.

In fact, while I was writing it, I was questioning my own judgment call as I moved on from something. The thing with the barn in the painting…

This is why liberals like art, I think. The barn in the painting, the direction from which the artist chose to paint it, the colors, the lighting, the flowers in the field in front of the barn, the time of day — even the frame in which the canvas is mounted — they all coincide together to make a unique experience, and that experience is the reality. You paint the same barn from a different angle, and to them that’s an entirely different thing. To people who actually have to build things that go, there is a linkage between the two, and we use this to figure out what the barn is really like. Therefore there is a reasoning process going on.

They don’t engage in any such reasoning process because they don’t see the linkage; therefore they don’t see the point. The sunflowers in front of the barn are just as important as the barn itself. Contradictions that arise, present them with no pressing reconciliation chore whereas the rest of us have to stop everything to figure out what’s happening with that damn barn, like: Why does the color appear different at midday from at twilight?

There is more inspection due here, because the “liberals” — in this context meaning, people who think reality is invested in the images perceived by the observer rather than in the object itself, which is generally true — are not exclusively ignorant, and neither are their counterparts, who see the images as merely manifestations of a reality that is too complex to be entirely encompassed in any one single image. Each side of this split is paying attention to something that its opposite is ignoring entirely.

I mentioned a pair of paintings of a single barn, taken from two different angles and two different times of day. I also mentioned sunflowers in a field, in the foreground of one of these. (Presumably, the sunflowers would be out of frame in the other painting, or perhaps off to the side, or in the background.) In the context here we think of “conservative” as an observer who envisions the barn in the painting as a three-dimensional object, with the painting simply a partial representation of it.

Four disparities in these world-views arise.

Beauty: The liberals appreciate the “art” as a complete story unto itself, in ways the conservatives do not. Each painting is a package deal and it may or may not involve a positive emotional experience. If it does, all the elements of the story are pertinent. The brushes, the oil, the matte, the frame, the barn, the flowers, the fence posts, the birds, the sky, the clouds. This is why Citizen Kane is the greatest movie ever made…if you ask a liberal. If a conservative is dragged into the conversation, the conversation falls apart as the conservative asks all these unwelcome questions like: Uh, there have been a whole lot of movies made about a character falling from grace, what makes this any different? And then the liberal becomes exasperated and tired of this conversation because it is a communication with someone outside of the emotional experience, so typically will say something like “You just have to watch it! I can’t explain it! Watch Citizen Kane, you’ll ‘get it!'” They aren’t being insincere. There’s a lot of tangential stuff that goes into the experience, like how a stained-glass window pane is photographed, which to the conservative is just so much noise — which brings me to —

TMI: The sunflowers in front of the barn. To the liberal, they’re every bit as important as the barn itself. To the conservative they’re just in the way, especially after the conservative has managed a gander at the second painting, and figured out that the barn is the common object, and that these two paintings are of the same barn. To him, this is a matter of interest and all sorts of fascinating chores emerge from this simple acknowledgement of the obvious, that the barn has three dimensions and is (probably) a real thing that stands, or once stood, somewhere. One can therefore figure out the barn’s size and shape, where the two painters stood relative to one another, how big the barn is, what doors and other openings it has. The liberal is not captivated by this because the liberal doesn’t acknowledge the link between the two paintings. He may favorably appreciate both of them. But if that’s the case, it is important to understand that the liberal mind finds these to be positive, pleasing, unique and independent experiences. And the sunflowers are part of it. To the conservative, trying to figure out the size and shape of the barn, the goddamn things are just in the way.

Plurality of PerspectivesContradictions:Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.” So says Professor Hugh Axton in the first third of Atlas Shrugged, winding up Part I which is called “Non-Contradiction.” The fact that a genuine contradiction cannot exist, makes apparent contradictions quite useful. For example, this is how parallax works. If two stars are 45 angular minutes apart in March, and 15 angular minutes apart in September, and one of the stars is much further away so that our distance to it is functionally infinite, this tells us a great deal about our distance to the closer one. In pursuing this trajectory of reasoning we are making use of a duality of perspectives. Confined to only a single perspective, we would be deprived of this evidence and would not be able to arrive at this conclusion until we came across some other way to gather the information. For a much simpler example, we can ponder the visual chores done within the brain of anybody who enjoys the advantage of two working eyes as this person experiences visual depth. It’s all about reconciling apparent contradictions between two images, known to be associated with each other. Liberals, by and large, don’t do this. And that’s why the conflict persists. They don’t seem to appreciate the value of it. Many among their number have two working eyes apiece, I think. How is it they can ponder weighty subjects, like what to do about our indigent, whether there is such a thing as human effect on the climate, and in so doing fall short of the thinking capacity they engage whenever they look down the street? I don’t know the answer to this. You will have to ask them.

Distortion: For all the noise liberals make about the value of nuance, you would think they’d be able to appreciate that different stories can be told about the same reality, there may be different observations made, and yet both stories might be true. And yet, time after time we see conflict arise around them, which they then blame on others, because they perceive that the other story must be a “lie.” Like William F. Buckley used to say, “…liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, [but] it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view.” This very often causes them to confuse “do you agree” with “do you know”: The “true” story is somehow established as being one and the same with somebody’s telling of it, much like, again, that barn in the painting. Somehow it is established that a certain painting is the “Original Van Gogh.” It would therefore follow that anything else purporting to be the same thing, with detectable differences, must be a replica and therefore fake, worthless, even a blight. This makes sense with paintings, doesn’t make quite so much sense with the perception of reality. Because, again, with paintings the value is linked to the painting itself — it is the object of value. Problems arise when they carry this mindset into the real world. A great example is climate change. I have no problem “admitting” that humans might possibly have an effect on it, in the sense that all organisms within an environment affect each other, along with the environment itself, and the environment affects them right back. That much is just how nature works. Even when you jump off the ground into the air, in the purest technical sense you are engaging in an interaction with the Earth as the force from your legs repels the two of you momentarily apart. And yet, have you been in a climate change dispute that failed to degenerate, as they so often do, into something like “What qualifications do you have to question the science that says global warming is caused by humans?” Think of it from their mindset: The “theory” is a painting, it doesn’t reflect anything else, it is its own reality. Any statement about the same thing, deviating from this prototype in any detectable way, is a demonstrable fake. Anything done about a certain thing, must adhere to an orthodox process, or else it is invalid — nevermind the outcome.

The take-away from all this is, our friends the liberals are at the center of a great deal of conflict, and they’re probably to be blamed for it, but we shouldn’t be too hard on them before we make an effort to understand things…from their point of view. In a lot of ways, they’re simply children who have made a mistake about how to perceive the world around them, and then unfortunately went through the ensuing years of maturation with this mistake left uncorrected. They just haven’t gone through the experience that would compel them to make the correction. They think images are reality, and that explains most of it. Probably watched too much television or something.

Why are they so nasty sometimes? People who are hoodwinked by something, and secretly suspect this is the case, tend to want everybody else to be hoodwinked by the same thing. Peers who have not been hoodwinked the same way, offend them, because it shows that they haven’t had to be hoodwinked and somewhere they must have made the decision that this should happen. Inferiors who have not been hoodwinked, offend them the same way, because it reminds them that they have the intellectual fortitude to solve their own problems and they haven’t seen fit to marshal this fortitude. Superiors who have not been so hoodwinked, offend them, because it poses a problem for their dogmatic “truth” that all good things come from communicating and investing belief in a common set of “good” messages, read that as, genuine, truthy images. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush believing in un-liberal things, and rising to the office of President of the United States, offends the dickens out of them. But as soon as Barack Obama is sworn in, the Reagan and Bush things are effectively scrubbed from history; not never happened (until the time comes to blame something on them). Welcome to the age of “We know we’re right because Obama is President.”

And that gets into a fifth perception-discrepancy that arouses conflict, the perception of time. Liberals do not view time the same way normal people do. But that is truly a post for some other day.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Rotten Chestnuts.

The Wal Mart Thing

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Sunday at the gun range a lot of guys were complaining about Wal Mart. Yesterday I heard on the radio someone got a Wal Mart manager to order .223 right on the spot, and the manager found out on the phone that the order was being suspended at corporate.

Can’t find any corroboration for this online except at here. Interesting. Wait for more anecdotes to flow in, I guess. But our Vice President says the nineteen executive orders should be in, or at least announced, by the end of the week. It’s clear they’re having some kind of an effect already though.

Reminds me of a murder mystery I’d read once, a long time ago, about a guy stabbing his victim to death with an icicle. It was the perfect crime because the murder weapon melted. That’s what it’s like when large manufacturers and retailers are bullied and intimidated, there’s no “weapon,” no fingerprints. There’s no law against selling or buying the ammo. Nobody to be blamed. Not legally.

People who like having it work this way, like it because it’s someone else being deprived or inconvenienced. Perhaps it’s too much to ask that they evaluate the situation based on more abstract concepts, rather than on specifics. How un-American is this? You can’t have X until Barry goes off in a room all by Himself, mulls it over, and figures out what kind of executive order He wants to write. Entire industries grinding to a halt while a nation breathlessly waits to see what sparks jumped what synapses in the President’s brain. Like the opening scene of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Not the taxi scene, I mean the very first one…where they’re all waiting for the boss to finish looking at the samples. Like that.

When such a situation involved a King of Great Britain, it was worth a revolution and a war to get it changed, right? Huh. I guess sensibilities change across time…

Help Amusing Bunni

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

If you can. And however you can.

This Is Good CV

Monday, January 14th, 2013

I cannot find the post and so I shall have to paraphrase. And I have no link to offer, either to the statement itself, or to something that would suitably represent its author.

Facebook friend John Rambo said, at one time or another, somewhere…

Anybody else notice that whenever Barack Obama gets His way, the country ends up worse off?

As is the case with most “this is good” things, it’s hard to think of anything else to add, and so I’ll stop here.

Update 1/15/13: There we go, he was good enough to link to his “tweet”:


Monday, January 14th, 2013

I see Rush Limbaugh has a column up about his New Years’ resolution, to not be so cocky and sure of himself:

Maybe I could be a little bit more mellow, less expressive, with not as many wild gesticulations while speaking. Not monotone but clearly not as energetic. You people may not be aware but I tried being more mellow the first week I was back. …I wanted to be less threatening, because I was told that 24-year-old women are threatened by me and my passion.

So I try to dial it [back]. I figure maybe what it boils down to is I just don’t know how to be boring. I was trying to be boring, and I don’t know how to be. I even tried to be less confident. See, I am convinced — and I’ve been convinced for a while — that most people are not… Well, this I know. This is not something I’ve recently become convinced of. It’s something I know. Most people are not confident of what they believe. Most people have a lot of self-doubt, or just doubt.

If they don’t doubt themselves, they have doubt about things. They’re not very confident and not sure, and they’ve also seen what happens to people who are confident and who are sure. They are the ones who get hit. So I thought, “Okay.” I’ve known for a long time that when people talk about me being braggadocios or bombastic, what they’re really saying is that I’m too sure of myself. Nobody’s that sure of themselves, and it rubs them the wrong way. So I tried to dial that back. I tried to sound less confident. I tried to sound boring.

I don’t know how to do that.

This makes precious little sense to me, but I can identify with it anyway. I especially identify with the part about the chicks being threatened, although I know I shouldn’t identify with that. I don’t like the gender stereotyping. It creates conflict that serves no purpose, and as the years roll by and men become generally more and more effeminate, I understand that wherever the gender identity might have made for some accuracy up to some point of time, such accuracy is becoming eroded as men behave more and more like women.

But then, I’ve had my relationships, during which I’ve been midcourse-corrected for being over-confident and cocky, just like Limbaugh. Of course this has come from women, since I’m a dude and I’m straight. But I’m sure there is some resentment toward the talk show host for his swagger, and his “talent on loan from God” thing, and “thirty-five undeniable truths of life” which do not apply to humble li’l ol’ me. I don’t have “undeniable truths,” I have Things I Know, which is a bit of a different situation you see. I have no beef with anyone who wants to “deny” the things I know. If they want to challenge any one among them, I’m all ears. But, for now, no one successfully has, and so know them I do.

Now here is where the remarkable thing arises: This ground I’ve just covered, that very spot, seems to be the epicenter of where the conflict arises. Me knowing things. Going beyond merely penciling them into my mental notebook; filling them in with ink. Having some measure of good, rugged, old-fashioned confidence. Yes, this does rub some chicks the wrong way, along with not a few self-loathing chestless chick-wanna-be beta-male “men.”

This overlaps somewhat with the post previous, along with the one previous to that, along with the one I uploaded after shopping for Christmas trees. It’s the liberal Gumby universe, no point established that doesn’t move, no line between any two points that is truly straight, no arc drawn through any three points adhering to any constant direction or radius. Everything is squishy and pliable, everything’s negotiable, there are no absolutes anywhere.

And so I’ve come up with my own way not to be so cocky. Following the advice directly, I’m afraid, fails on a lot of levels. Their objection is to me knowing things, and in a lot of cases I know things because I’ve actually tested them. Uh, what am I to do about that? I see no progress in that direction, other than feigning false things, like pretending I didn’t conduct the test, pretending I don’t know how to construct the tests, or how to evaluate them, or that the tests indicated something other than what they indicated. Seems phony, to me — because it is. Also, I can’t help noticing that the women who react churlishly toward men like me who are “too confident” about things, fail to reject this, in fact are drawn to the confidence. I mean — we were having the argument, were we not? Which means we had the encounter so that we could have the argument, so there must have been some kind of a coupling. Some people go through life constantly wanting something other than what they have, something different from what they wanted yesterday. Must be a terrible way to live. And what’s it like to be one of those guys who they say they want, who aren’t so confident? Oh, I know the answer to that from my younger days: I-N-V-I-S-I-B-L-E. Yes, I can see why some women don’t like men who “know” things, those are the women who don’t know what they know. Starting with what they really want.

Rush is going to try to stop ticking off these women and American Castrati men, by looking into ways to be more boring. Okay…that probably is not my problem though. I think I’m plenty boring enough. I need to come up with my own list of things.

1. Don’t browbeat people with information. Seriously question the value involved in starting any kind of list. Consider not doing it…

Oops! Right off the bat, I violated my own rule.

Well, in for a penny in for a pound. Onward we go.

2. If you must start any kind of silly list to make your point, seriously question the value involved in reaching the end of it. Opt instead for “et al,” “et cetera” or “ad infinitum.”

That’s tough to do sometimes. You come up with a rule, make a couple of exceptions to it, it can come off as looking like you think the rule should hold for anything outside of those two things, so it becomes obligatory to tack on a third and then a fourth…your audience’s attention span has faded, understandably, somewhere between items #5 and #8. After a dozen, you’re just verbally abusing them — and of course you can’t stop yet.

And so…

3. Etc.

There. Now I’m taking my own medicine.

The Christmas tree shopping post linked above, is an interesting blogging exercise in that I became unusually concerned with computer software and how it’s put together, studying it from a philosophical perspective. I expected it to gather dust without anyone ever looking at it, or without drawing any comments from anybody who did look. That is not what happened. Those who read it, immediately understood where I was going with it, and had similar experiences. This came as a great surprise to me.

I’ve often made the observation that with computer software, the products that are most useful and take on a life of their own, have a few things in common: An input, an output, and most importantly a difference in those two perspectives — the output has to capture the object that was input, verbatim, then it has to present it by way of a perspective that, with the product no longer accessible, would be difficult to achieve. Think of CAD, think of spreadsheets making pie charts out of data, think of databases sorting things. One object; a plurality of views of the object, that is the common theme to it all.


There is a detectable pattern in which, if the presentation of an object makes it more difficult and awkward for us to determine any absolutes about the object, liberals are going to not only love that presentation all to pieces, but spend massive amounts of energy pushing for a requirement that everyone perceive the object in that fuzzy, cloudy, definition-less way.


The error of the liberal mind is in perceiving reality to be wrapped up in the multitude of views rather than in the singular object being so represented.

You can see why I was surprised this achieved any sort of currency. It is very heavy. If it was food, it would be one of those military-surplus C-rat brownies in the green cans, that sit in your gut for a week. It goes right down to: What is reality? To the conservatives and the responsibly-thinking moderates, it is the object itself, with the view of the object being nothing more than a manifestation. To our friends the liberals, living in their squishy stretchy special universe, the view itself is the reality. That’s why they say reality lacks absolutes and one culture’s reality is just as legitimate as another’s; when you define reality the way they do, there is some legitimacy to this viewpoint. They aren’t talking “reality” in terms of the object, they’re talking reality in terms of the view of it.

So when I meet someone from that side of the fence, of course they see me as uncompromising and maybe arrogant. I see the reality as a three-dimensional thing, whereas they see it in only two dimensions. I mentioned CAD. Let’s use a simple analogy then. You see a house, ten feet high by twenty feet wide by thirty feet deep. A very simple CAD program scales this to a quarter inch per foot, and projects front, top and side elevations just like they taught you in mechanical drawing class. Your top elevation, therefore, is five inches wide and seven-and-a-half inches tall; the front elevation is five inches by two-and-a-half inches; the side elevation is seven-and-a-half by two-and-a-half. Got it?

The way the liberal sees reality, there are three realities there. For us, this doesn’t work because it creates contradictions. To a liberal, though, contradictions are inconsequential. The squishy pliable Gumby universe, remember? That property is necessary in order to isolate all these “realities.”

They perceive an assault against their plastic universe, of course, any time they receive some information that must come from the three dimensions. Like for example, that the house has a volume of six thousand cubic feet. This could only have been gathered through an experience, be it real or be it only a mental exercise, that they cannot share. So of course they feel abused about it. Hence the conflict. Also: Their brand of “negotiating,” where they’re sincere about it — read that as, Barack Obama is not involved in it — involves shifting reality from time to time, by shifting the views. We, living in the three-dimensional universe, will not accommodate this because we can’t. You shift from the side view to the top view, the elevation doubles in size, but this has no bearing on the “real” object that has been represented. That object, we insist, stays the same as it always has, you’re just looking at it differently. Well to them, this comes off as uncharitable and unkind.

You see? It’s all about…perspective. Theirs is different, because they define reality differently. They live in a flat world, because they don’t have to make anything that actually works.

This is why liberals like art, I think. The barn in the painting, the direction from which the artist chose to paint it, the colors, the lighting, the flowers in the field in front of the barn, the time of day — even the frame in which the canvas is mounted — they all coincide together to make a unique experience, and that experience is the reality. You paint the same barn from a different angle, and to them that’s an entirely different thing. To people who actually have to build things that go, there is a linkage between the two, and we use this to figure out what the barn is really like. Therefore there is a reasoning process going on.

They don’t engage in any such reasoning process because they don’t see the linkage; therefore they don’t see the point. The sunflowers in front of the barn are just as important as the barn itself. Contradictions that arise, present them with no pressing reconciliation chore whereas the rest of us have to stop everything to figure out what’s happening with that damn barn, like: Why does the color appear different at midday from at twilight?

I have also detected conflict from my apparent intransigence about these things I know; I won’t stop knowing them on command, even though the milquetoasts and the Castrati and the lefties are willing to meet me halfway on this, or so they think. What they are discovering, or would discover if they could stop blaming the conflict on me for just a minute or so, is the problem involved with falsifiability. They are discovering that inductive reasoning is porous, while deductive reasoning is not. The classic textbook example involves a theory that all swans are white, and the asymmetry is that no matter how many white swans are observed, such a theory can never be proven, but the presentation of a single black swan entirely debunks it. And so they end up in conflict with people like me, who might have seen the black swan. They think I’m generating all the conflict, and I’m certain that to them it feels that way.

But there’s my reality to be considered, as well. If I saw the black swan, I can’t un-see it, just for sake of getting along with people who haven’t seen it. So I suppose I should be grateful I’m not a radio talk show host, because the option remains open to me to simply non-associate. The view-is-reality people, the barn-perspective people, don’t seem to want me around anyway. And I have no desire to stress them out needlessly.


Monday, January 14th, 2013

They’re thinking of continually raising the debt ceiling every three months or so, and House Speaker Boehner evidently doesn’t know how to handle these negotiations. We have a looming crisis, about the same thing that was the subject of the looming crisis two weeks ago.

It’s like a Quincy episode. Lots of drama, lots of yelling, with the cookie-cutter formula definable even though the solution is not. (Neither is the problem, now that I think on that a bit further.) We even have a reading on the rhythm: Two weeks. Do your “landmark negotiations” or whatever on Day N, and on Day N+14 tell the sheeple there’s another crisis about exactly the same thing. Same stinkin’ thing. Don’t even bother to change the wording much.

Still & all, the people who want things to work this way, or insist that we have the right people in charge, have such confidence in what they say. How do they manage it, I wonder. Maybe they’ve never, ever had jobs, or at least, never had jobs in which they had to convince someone “it’s alright, it’s handled, I/we/they have this thing.” Because, in that environment, this is the very picture of a complete non-starter. It’s the picture of career suicide. If this was what you had to bring to the project stakeholders about how things are going — another two weeks, another crisis, not distinguishably different from the previous one — oh, how do I put this…it doesn’t get lower than this. You would be required to send out meeting invitations to your next round-table, at which you can look forward to being asked absolutely unanswerable questions, look forward to being soundly disgraced. You would be chairing your own indictment hearing. It would be the equivalent of buying the bullets for your own firing squad.

But I guess in DC things don’t work like that.

Our last magic wonderful solution didn’t work, we’re a failure, now give us more money.

And from what I’m seeing here, it works great, because fourteen days is okay. People don’t remember the previous crisis. I guess fourteen days is long enough for them to forget. I’m anticipating that this frequency will gradually quicken over time, because how could it not? Every time these beltway types figure out they can get away with something, they up the ante. So they’ll try ten days next, then seven. How tiny will these cycles get?

What if it’s every twenty-four hours? “We’re still to be congratulated for that last round of negotiations YESTERDAY, but it didn’t work so give us more money.” Would that still work? Every day at three Eastern, noon Pacific, the same silly announcement, same stage, same people talking. Need more money. Would people around the country then start to wake up and say, hey, maybe this is a model of government that doesn’t work so well?

I have to wonder because I’ve been living in the Sacramento area for twenty years. And so, I think…maybe yeah, that’ll still work great, pondering this is a little bit like wondering when the dead horse will get up and say “Hey, quit beating me.” But, hope springs eternal. A lot of people are like that, but a lot aren’t, and elections are just games of reaching fifty-one percent (or 270 electoral votes). Maybe the pendulum will swing back.

But not unless people realize that any configuration of government is a test, not an answer; you have to have in mind some way of determining that the test passed, or that it failed. This one is failing according to my criteria, but as I’ve been reminded from living in the capital of California, my criteria are not what matters…

He Was Talking About You

Monday, January 14th, 2013

…when President Obama said we need to ask the wealthy to pay some more to make it come out right. You didn’t realize you were wealthy? Surprise, surprise.

From Daily Caller, hat tip to Boortz.

Yeah, that last guy let Him off the hook entirely. Politicians say what they have to say, do what they have to do, whatever…ditto for the “Obama all the way” guy.

Here we come to the cognitive dissonance within liberals, that absolutely fascinates me, the “shouldn’t be surprised” angle of it. The plan has been explained and now it has been put in play. The resources are tapped — as planned, plus a whole lot more, a lot of people are getting tapped who didn’t think they would be. But they shouldn’t be surprised. The problem that was supposed to be addressed, is not getting solved, and we shouldn’t be surprised about that either. Politicians, just doing what they gotta do…

The “Obama all the way” guy said something about “get the ball rollin’.” What’s that mean?

More and more, it seems to me that all things liberal, have to do with avoiding the definitions of things. Problems to be solved. Solutions. Objectives. Visions. Resources. Costs. It’s clear to me they all have some goal in mind, but they aren’t being forthcoming about what it is, maybe even to themselves. When the rubber meets the road they all consider it some sort of success, although they can’t point to anything that was supposed to have been done that actually got done.

I think, Barack Obama is just supposed to win more arguments, is all. Barack and Michelle should get to go on more vacations and they should look all winning & smart. Then the Obama fans live vicariously through the Obamas. Is it really that simple? Maybe so. Everything to do with forming alliances and allegiances, nothing to do with getting anything done.

Weather Girls

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

It pains me to say this, but if ever there is a world competition for “Best Weather Girl,” the adjudicating panel could save a whole lot of time by simply eliminating the United States from the running and proceeding with all the other nations assembled.

I do not mean by this to say the United States has ugly weather girls. You can see from this lineup that some of them are drop-dead gorgeous. But, with the list items about evenly divided between USA and not-USA, something else becomes clear: All those smarmy libs who have been bellyaching for years and years about “America has hang-ups about sex,” they’re correct. Oh, maybe not in the way they think. I know they really just want to compare us to France, and find France superior because of topless beaches or something dumb like that.

You don’t have to look over the pictures long to find the rule: In the United States, a weather girl M-U-S-T be dressed in such a way that would be acceptable, in an office building, at a large conservative firm. Law firm. Banking institution. We don’t notice it after awhile because we have become acclimated to it. But, this is a hang-up. We’ve been conditioned to think, okay, there is work and then there is not-work; being a weather girl is work, so that should look like work. And work means: Straight men do not find anything appealing, or rather, they find appealing what they are damn well told to find appealing.

Gaal NoemiBecause men are danger. Not sexy danger, but intolerable danger — unless they are absolutely, positively, completely controlled in every possible way.

“Mighty Mayte” Carranco, on the other hand, doesn’t need an elaborate culture-protocol setup in order for male viewers to find her appealing. She just is. I’m sure some in our fair country, especially the loud opinionated types, will find that tacky. Maybe that is the case…I have no objection to people pointing out things that are simply true, even if they’re matters of subjective taste, and maybe more than a few trace amounts of plain old-fashioned jealousy. My question is, since when do matters of tack and taste get in the way of marketing? It’s a bit odd that such a circuit breaker is tripped only here, isn’t it? Think about cases in the United States where “give the people what they want” emerges victorious over matters of propriety and decorum. It’s practically become our national symbol, seems pointless to even get the list started. Been a national embarrassment for quite some time. When it comes to men looking at beautiful women on television, somehow it has to work the other way.

Once again, men are intolerably dangerous unless completely controlled in every way they possibly can be. If we’ve gone so far down this road that men can be ordered to find a pantsuit-harridan as attractive as Sugey Abrego, I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t matter anymore if this is a good road or a bad road, we’ve passed a point of something, beyond which further travel isn’t going to do us any good. We should turn back. Telling men what they’re supposed to want to watch? How can that be a good idea?

This is a bigger thing than boobs sticking out, or skirts being shorter. I believe, with people and institutions, the natural shape of trajectories over time is the parabola; what goes up, must come down. The United States of America is great, as few things in world history have ever been, because it has defied this for so long. And my optimism here is boundless, I think America has what it takes to defy this “gravity” forever and ever. But it’s not happening, that’s the real problem being called out here. Organizations have a certain “feel” to them when they’ve lost that edge, when they’ve reached the apex and start plummeting earthward again. And this is what it looks like, that notion of “the customer is always wrong.” That sentence I typed in up top, that a world competition would run more efficiently and quickly with the results unaltered, if the U. S. of A. was simply cut from the running — that should never be true. Of anything. Ever.

And it’s true twice, with weather girls and beer.

Like I said, my optimism knows no limits. The downward trajectory can be reversed. We’re still way up there, after all. We can stay head and shoulders above the rest. Across the board.

But not the way things are going. We are a mighty mansion with a proud history, whose best days are still ahead of her. But not if we ignore the termite infestation and dry rot that have set in. Men aren’t watching weather reports here like they do in other countries, because they have no reason to.

Edge Cases

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Had a rather interesting conversation over at the Hello Kitty of Blogging yesterday, which I started after experiencing some everyday-life frustration.

I played a video game, which of course essentially means goofing off — using technology. Then I attended to some businessin’, again using technology. My irritation detonated while in the second of those two activities, during which time not only did seemingly everything in the world go wrong, but I experienced a pretty-much-constant confusion about states of things. States of sessions, states of pages, states of widgets. Seems I never was quite clear on what was doing/expecting what. And I’m talking specifically about web portal stuff. There is a question about whether I’m really logged in when I think I am…whether such-and-such a field has been properly filled in…oh, you need to read our terms of service before clicking that button, and now that you’ve clicked to read our TOS we’ve helpfully wiped out some fields that you have to fill in again.

Your response to CAPTCHA is not an accurate interpretation of the letters and numbers displayed on your screen, please try again. Oops, please try again. Please try again please try again please try again…

I find this aggravating because, having mucked about somewhat with the intricacies of 3D rendering, I have an understanding of what’s going on at the “bleeding edge” and what an organization has to do to meet with these arcane concepts, for just the visual experience of playing the game. It involves considerable effort just to get everything coordinated. And yet this common pattern holds up, that if your effort has to do with goofing off, then everything works great. And if it doesn’t, there is hell to pay even though the situation under which things hiccup just a tiny bit, could fairly be called an “edge case.” Like: Lara Croft can navigate through the lava level properly on PS2, PS3, and XBox, but on the PC download her foot gets stuck in the crack in the floor and you have to re-load…or the camera angle is causing a bit of frustration. Given a set of circumstances like those, the game will be ripped up one side and down another in the reviews, even if everything else is working perfectly. That’s goofing off. When you do things that actually make the household go, nobody gives a rip about edge cases. Even when you’re not trying to do anything exotic at all, everything goes wrong, and what’s worse is, the things that are busted with the system that cause these things to go wrong, stay busted. For months. Years. Years and years and years.

But have you ever tried to give money to your phone company…over the phone? Yes, I’d like to pay my bill. I’d like to pay my bill. Pay my bill. Pay bill. PAY. BILL!

I’m fond of an anecdote from many years ago during my server engineer days. That company was a sprawling health insurance leviathan, and miles away from us at company headquarters, the CEO popped in to work one morning to find the security guard in the lobby playing Solitaire. The Information Technology department got a thumpin’, because the boss wasn’t quite hip to the idea of Windows 95 being all intricately hooked up to its core parts…which included the silly games Microsoft had been throwing in there. Which didn’t stop him from sounding off and demanding action immediately. Yeah, that was one of the ones that came to me, I’m such a lucky stiff…but I certainly understand the frustration. What ticked the old man off was, all these other applications that had to do with work, there were problems galore but — I remember these words vividly — “Lord knows, we can make these games go without a hitch.” Yes there’s a lot of ignorance in there. But I see a valid complaint there as well, or valid feelings at the very least.

Lara CroftGoofing off goes “without a hitch.” Getting money moved around for purposes of staying alive & fed, or keeping the lights turned on…I’m afraid I just don’t understand. The algorithms for session key exchange, authentication, block cipher encryption and hash, those are very mature and capable, we have a pretty good idea of how we want them to work. That’s a different chapter of my work history, but I’ve had to get my hands dirty with all that stuff as well. There is some good, sound technology here. But the layers on top of it, where the web pages are put together and the users are prompted to fill things out, that’s just the worst godawful mess, and you don’t need to understand how things fit together to realize this. Just go through the user experience. Nobody’s doing it right anywhere, it seems. If, that is, the object of the exercise has something to do with “real” work.

For goofing off, everything is hammered together and “built so that it stays built.” The user is free to concentrate on his own shortcomings, and it is implicitly understood that the silly smarmy back-talking bitch Lara Croft did leap in the direction you told her to, and her dead body lies in a sloppy heap at the bottom of the valley because you told her to leap in the wrong direction. Oh, we say things to the contrary all the time. But we know the guy holding the controller is the real problem. Or he’d better be; one little flaw with camera angles in one platform port, even a platform “nobody” is actually using — there’s hell to pay.

It’s not because the experience is inherently frustrating, or the game players lack the maturity to deal with it. That’s one of the few enriching qualities that the games bring. They teach kids, if it seems to be impossible, just try and try again and you’ll get it. There is some value in this. But it has not escaped my notice that if the experience for the user is frustrating, but properly so, with the game doing everything correctly none of this frustration is held against the game. Even when the users sound off with their most base passions in a forum somewhere, nobody was rooked by the game — it’s just a “tough level.” I’m sure the players sometimes do lack maturity. Or, at least, I do on occasion. But it doesn’t affect anything in the interaction.

It’s not because of the competition angle. When I first heard that, I thought it made a lot of sense. If the game is all cocked up, people will learn all about that before they even buy it, whereas the phone company and the power company and the cable company each have a monopoly. The problem with that idea is with the cell phones. Competition among the carriers, and among the hardware platforms, is fierce. Even within that environment the pattern persists, on both sides. Ever have a problem playing Angry Birds? I haven’t heard of anyone saying they have. But, for the utilitarian stuff suddenly it all falls apart. My wife has to go to the retail outlet today, to yell at them about her lack of ability to check messages on our home answering system. Once again, it’s a completely stupid problem: She dials in the pass code, and after three seconds the keypad on her own phone dims out. It makes for a lively performance from the passenger seat while I’m driving, I can tell you. Crap like that. It doesn’t happen with games.

Ever. Like the boss said, Lord knows we can make ’em go without a hitch.

It isn’t because of complexity. The games are doing amazing things. Just the technology that is involved in rendering a triangle is a science unto itself. And then there are all these methods for storing and retrieving and properly distorting textures when viewed with the light source behind it, or through vapor or water. That automated idiot who takes my credit card number for the phone company doesn’t have to deal with any of that.

I believe, since this tends to always be the case, the things that we build reflect our character; the watch is the image of the watchmaker. And maybe it is just frustration being channeled here, like the frustration of that CEO thundering away in the e-mail. But it seems to me that for the present time, goofing off is where the priority is. When I see people tackle problems that have something to do with accepting my money, or with giving me some, time after time when the problems are being “solved” in some way they’re being solved by way of chopping at the leafy part of the weed. Problem A is brought about by Problem B, without Problem B taking place Problem A would never have happened — nevertheless, all of the few resources marshaled to address this, are directed toward Problem A, with little to no concern about making sure it never happens again. And thirty days later, it does happen. It isn’t long before the consumer figures out that success is mainly involved with avoiding being an edge-case. And, I think this has to do with the long-standing complaint about our societal hostility toward masculinity, our subconscious desire to destroy it: I’ve lately started to think the incapable robot who can’t understand my voice, at the phone company, can’t understand me because I’m a bass-to-baritone. Men these days don’t talk that way. Much more common to hear the “manly” voice confining itself, having been properly chastened like a well-behaved dog staying off the furniture, to about an octave above Middle C. The system carries no burden to handle edge cases, the burden is on the user to avoid being one. I’m thinking the wife should be taking care of this bill payment, and perhaps the end of our frustration lies in that direction.

While the games keep right on working. Edge cases and all. “Without a hitch.”

The Root Cause of Much Evil in Our Culture, Summed Up in One Awesome Pic

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Process elevated as a concern over outcome…

…feeling given priority over ultimate effect.

Thanks again to Gerard for finding this.

“You Get All the Good-Looking Women”

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Okay, notice the headline of this piece: “Musburger Criticized for Remarks About Star’s Girlfriend During Title Game.” It is passive-voice, not active-voice. You locate the primary verb of the sentence, “criticized,” look for the noun that is connected to it as the subject, and you’re left flailing around, like a fish knocked out of its bowl, gasping, because the subject is outside of the sentence which addresses only the object. Brett Musburger, sportscaster.

Other sentences about this contain a constant adjective: “Creepy.” Those sentences, also, are passive-voice.

WebbAnd I’m seeing there’s a good reason for that. Musburger’s comment, which inspired a subsequent apology from ESPN, went like this:

“You quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women,” Musburger, 73, said. “What a beautiful woman.”

“Wow!” his partner, Kirk Herbstreit, said.

“Whoa!” Musburger added.

“A.J’.s doing some things right down in Tuscaloosa,” Herbstreit said.

“If you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with pop,” Musburger said.

I don’t think “What a beautiful woman” is what set off the firestorm. Although it certainly didn’t help to taper it off any. No, the real hitch in the giddy-up was “You quarterbacks get all the good looking women.”

Here’s the truth some people evidently cannot handle: Men and women couple-up according to proximate levels of trading currency. It is a financial transaction just like any other. Seeking each other out, men and women will trade down if, and only if, there is a pressing need to trade down. If they don’t have to, then they don’t.

I see a lot of this at Hooters, where it must not bother me even one little bit, because there I am starkly reminded that I’m not at the high end of this spectrum of trading currency. The dirty little secret about Hooters is, as I have noted a few times before, that women actually have fun there; so the waitresses often clock out of their shift, drive home, go grab their boyfriends, and come back to have fun. They probably get a discount, so I’m sure this makes sense financially in some way. But, of course, these are young, knockout, gorgeous young ladies, and the boyfriends they bring back do not look like me even a tiny little bit. They don’t look like GQ models either. They’re not even handsome. They look larger than average, not very disciplined physically, lots of muscle but lots of fat as well. They stoop and they look like they’re not fully evolved. Silly baggy shorts and oversized tee shirts, shaved heads, no necks.

The truth here that some people do not want to confront is: At this high end of the “trading” spectrum, there is a pointy pinnacle. “Pointy” as in, focused, whittled down to a pinpoint, with everyone at that envied level looking more or less the same. Everyone beneath that high pinnacle, man and woman alike, must trade down. The people up at this high end don’t have to trade down. So they don’t. That’s why it’s “pointy” — everyone looks alike, because they resemble some most-sought-after ideal. If you’re not part of that pointy pinnacle, it will only bother you as much as you allow it to.

Me, I don’t allow it to bother me at all. Because the males at this pointy pinnacle look, to me, rather stupid. I don’t care if they’re bagging all the hot babes. I like the hot babe I’ve got, I’ve had her and liked her for years and years, and I also like the guy I see in the mirror. I don’t want to look like the Michelin Man come to life, just to get myself a Hooters babe. But this is a product of that culture: It’s a red-state place, at least, has been, kinda-sorta. They don’t make a point of hiring 20% transgender, 30% male, 40% obese waitresses, they don’t make a point of centralizing matters of taste and preference. It’s all about free trade. It ends up looking very different from most other things in the Peoples’ Republic of California, where everything has to be unsettled for the sake of artificial equality, all the time, and all the kids in a soccer game have to receive trophies just for showing up, and nobody keeps score…

So there is a rift here, between the red and blue states, and the rift has to do with pointing out excellence. The comment about beautiful women is simply a tiny facet within that much larger conflict: How dare Musburger notice that Ms. Wells is a ravishing, gorgeous woman. In this blue state culture, you aren’t allowed to distinguish excellence from mediocrity. They are to be blended together, intermixed and emulsified, all of the time, into one sloppy, gooey mess, lest those who are mediocre be made to feel bad. That’s why Musburger’s remarks “were thought to have gone too far” (passive voice again), why ESPN was compelled to apologize: Women who are not good-looking, got all catty about it.

There is something else going on here though, and unfortunately it is off in female-land. I just made reference to the simple economics of coupling-up, of heterosexual dating. What makes this such a delicate subject is, off on Planet Woman, there is a sharp whiplashing about-face going on with it. When a young lady has matured to the age of coupling-up, and shopping for a beau, and evaluating her prospects, this is everything. Once she’s picked out the stud and made plans to go through life with him, it is strictly verboten and she becomes accustomed to friends and welcome acquaintances compliantly avoiding any discussion of it. Except, I suppose, maybe for her Mom; no man was ever good enough for her little girl. But really, this part of it doesn’t even have to do with men, women, romance or sex. It’s economic and psychological: Buyers like to know about what other options are available, right up until they’ve done the buying, and then they’d rather not know about it thankyewverymuch.

A lot of these things about women that men can’t figure out, become crystal-clear when you simply think of them as buyers, in a market looking for something, that have only one coin they can trade and only one time. Put yourself in their shoes. After you’ve closed on a three-bedroom house, do you like knowing about the five-bedroom model in a better neighborhood, closer to your job, that you couldd’ve had for the same price? So now you know who’s complaining. Women, who are wives or girlfriends of guys who are not football players. They heard Musburger say, their husbands traded down, and they, of necessity, also traded down. That is where he went and that is why the comments were not well received.

But that part of it is still their problem and not Musburger’s. Mate selection is all about economics, it is what it is. There are people running around, believe it or not, who are better looking than I am…and you are…as well as, young ladies who are much more beautiful than the females who have a problem with Musburger’s comments, and there are guys better looking than their husbands. The question that comes up is: Why would such a realization be so untenable, that the messenger must be shot? In a country of 320 million people on a planet of over six billion, is this not just something to be expected?

I said before that the guys who can reel in those hot young women at Hooters, do not look anything like me, and this doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t bring me any pleasure either, for sure…I’m not going there for that, and truth be told, I don’t go there to stare at the lovely women either. I like going because it is a vacation from these stupid rules. Seriously, think about it: You can’t point out a woman is beautiful. The not so subtle implication is, ugly women and beautiful women must be thought of as the same…and we must have such a silly rule in place somewhere, must we not, if there’s all this clamoring for some kind of reprimand, or dismissal, to be brought against a sportscaster who dared notice such a thing, even when the object of his adoration herself said “It was kind of nice…I didn’t look at it as creepy at all. For a woman to be called beautiful, I don’t see how that’s an issue.”

Those who continue to complain, therefore, must essentially be saying: Shut your pretty mouth Katherine Webb, we will decide if it’s okay for others to comment on your looks. But who’s “we”? Overall and generally, we do not know…the passive voice thing…and this says a lot about the nature, and the quality, of the complaint. It has managed to achieve much more momentum than it ever should’ve.

When we locate someone who is actually willing to put her name next to the complaint, and say yes-I-have-a-problem-with-this, things only get sillier and sillier. Just give it a read.

“It’s extraordinarily inappropriate to focus on an individual’s looks,” said Sue Carter, a professor of journalism at Michigan State. “In this instance, the appearance of the quarterback’s girlfriend had no bearing on the outcome of the game. It’s a major personal violation, and it’s so retrograde that it’s embarrassing. I think there’s a generational issue, but it’s incumbent on people practicing in these eras to keep up and this is not a norm.”

Holy cats! I’ll bet you’re just the life of every party, Sue Carter professor of journalism.

If I live to be a hundred and fifty, I’ll never figure out why people allow complete strangers like Sue Carter professor of journalism, all this traffic-cop-go-and-stop authority over whether they’re allowed to notice a woman is beautiful. Why would you do that? Why would you surrender that kind of power? It almost suggests a fear of making personal decisions, even for matters of style and taste. And heck, I dunno, maybe that’s exactly what’s going on here. It’s like a total stranger telling you not to smell flowers, or to drink a root beer float, or go watch a fun movie.

Women Are Not For DecorationI know this part may strike some as silly…but if you think it through, you see this is a vital ground in the culture wars, and a major battle has to be pitched right here. A defensive battle. The enemy cannot be allowed to take this hill. Noticing a woman is more beautiful than the average, is like noticing that it’s raining or snowing out and the chains have to go on the truck tires, or noticing that a comic book is inappropriate for children and should not be sold where they have access to it. In other words, it is one of the realizations that makes a society go. Sure, it may seem merely ornamental, and it’s tempting to make that argument of “you do not need her to be pretty, you should be just as happy with that waitress or flight attendant or movie starlet being dowdy and frumpy looking.” But — how dowdy and frumpy looking, is the question that has to come up later if not sooner. Who decides?!? And by what right, what authority? What else do we not need to have to our liking. These are the same people who want to decide, for us, how many cartridges we need to be able to put in our gun magazines without reloading. How much money we need to keep for ourselves when we’re done paying our taxes. How big or how small we need our cars to be. How many television sets we need to have in our homes. How many carbon tons do we need to emit.

This doesn’t have to do with whether pretty women are better than ugly women. There can be no sensible answer to a question such as that anyway, other than maybe “it depends on what job you’re talking about.” This is about where matters of taste are to be decided, at the individual level or in some centralized place. Me, I’m all for matters of decorum, and leaving some things unsaid. But Sue Carter professor of journalism, and those who agree with her, are using that as a sort of camel’s nose in the tent — you defer to the prevailing notions of decency in a culture on just that one thing, and they want to stretch it all around to nothing less than veto power upon one of the most ancient and primal of all human pleasures, the gazing on the visage of a gorgeous woman. And then, of course, they want unilateral control over what those prevailing notions are going to be.

Read the comments of Sue Carter professor of journalism one more time. She is not ready to reconcile with or negotiate with someone else’s ideas. She’s got it all figured out, and she wants it all done her way.

Trust me, that stuff really wears on you after awhile. We have more than our share of it in California, where everything is regulated. It’s pretty much ruined everything it can. I go to Hooters to get away from it. Come to think of it, it’s been awhile since we’ve gone…

The Art of War Against Liberals

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Santa Claus came, and brought me an audio disc of The Art of War by Sun-Tzu. I’d already read some of the transcriptions and various interpretations, but wanted a CD with yet another run-through because when I go to pick up my son & drop him off, it’s several hundreds of miles through the most godawful boring Northern Nevada landscape you ever did see. And I had such a jaunt coming up, because we needed to drop the lad off after his service as ring-bearer at our wedding.

No, didn’t want it to practice as I made the trek. Just wanted to listen to it. Well…that turned out to be perfectly adequate for a bachelor driving solo, but it makes for dry “reading” with the wife in the passenger seat and the easily-bored teen sitting in back. So we quit halfway through disc three.

But by this point I made note of something. I’m always impressed by the style with which the essay is written. It is rhythmic, it is concise, it is structured. It is almost like iambic pentameter. This is the style of “in it to win it.” And something else impresses me about it: It is altogether different from that useless maelstrom of dodecaphonic rhetoric I’ve been hearing since November, about “Republicans shoulda done this” and “Republicans shouldn’t-a done that” and “Republicans ought to do some other damn silly fool thing.” Sun-Tzu isn’t like that. He’s a gifted writer, in his own way, that Sun-Tzu dude.

The Art of War is outrage-free. And it is absolutely, completely situational. It plays to win. There is no wrath; in fact, Sun-Tzu specifically counsels against wrath, and condemns the unwise decisions made by generals who wage war wrathfully. The introduction says it all: “The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat — let [him] be dismissed!” Pretty heady stuff, eh? It would be nice to hear of such a study guide in preparation for the “war” against liberals.

Perhaps it has been done, already, and not been brought to my attention. If so, I presume it has been engaged before my effort, and better. I am prepared to defer to the wiser counsel.

In the meantime, consider this as a prototype, upon which others may improve, or bring things to my attention so I may improve upon it. Something — something situational — better than nothing.

Overview and General Points

Firstly, it must be noted how it is that conservatives continue to lose arguments when the arguments are about arguing, meaning, when the arguments are all about “who’s a-gonna win.” This childlike sentiment of “I’m smart, you’re stupid, I’m right, you’re wrong, that makes me better than you” is a better fit with liberalism than with conservatism. Conservatism, as a general rule, is really all about finding the best solution to a problem. It is about enabling transactional exchanges. You heard what they said about “the customer is always right,” right? And so conservatives, who tend to be stakeholders and partners in businesses, are naturally inclined to say “Okay whatever, if you have some rules that I don’t like, we’ll take that into account and now let us get to business.” And so, time after time, wage increase after wage increase, tax after tax, the new expenses are built into the system and then the system continues to function. That is the “compromise”; let the machinery run, the way the liberals say it should, but let it run. You’ll note this is a tacit admission of what everyone knows, deep down, to be true: If the liberals got everything they wanted, the machinery would no longer run. That is their concession. They are anti-machinery-running, anti-human-progress, anti-go pro-stop. That we are not permitted to point it out in polite company, doesn’t make it any less true.

Well, just as Art of War is not necessarily about war, what appears below is not necessarily about winning arguments. The “general” who heeds my counsel should be prepared to lose, to acquiesce, to re-think a thing now & then, and acknowledge that his opponent might very well have had a good point to make. His sites have to be trained not on winning arguments, but on comparing proposed courses of action for an outcome most beneficial to all concerned. Let the childish liberals concern themselves with being “right” all the time.

The objective, here, is to wage effective discourse. Our target is the friend, relative, co-worker, or guy in the grocery checkout line who wants to “talk politics.” He does not identify himself as a liberal, he attaches to himself deceptive adjectives and nouns, such as “common sense” or “moderate.” But he is overly receptive to the words of the enemy and therefore, should it be possible, must be converted. The benefit we are to derive from following Sun-Tzu’s structure, is an intelligent adaptation to different situations, and the situations to which we are adapting have to do with the classification of this target. We have identified eleven of these. They are to be handled thusly:

The Strategist

There is a hidden rift between this type and all the other types. All the other types would be concerned about the deleterious effect of wretched liberal policy changes, if they could only be made aware of it, but they lack this awareness. This kind might or might not be aware, but doesn’t give a rat’s ass. He is a Trojan horse, an enfranchised liberal in centrist clothing. He has skin in the game. He is materially entangled in the liberal vision, being rewarded either out in the open or in secret, by way of cash, discounts, perks, votes or career advancement. He has a “job,” of sorts, to make himself and other liberals more powerful.

He therefore cannot be dissuaded.

The rift between this type, and the other ten, is the most precious asset we have. Do not engage this sort of poser in any direct way.

Accentuate, for the benefit of any bystanders, the differences between his interests and everybody else’s.

Example: The smaller paychecks that came out the first of this year, as a result of ObamaCare and the “fiscal cliff” deal. Our friends the democrats think that’s what a victory looks like. And they’re not afraid to say so. So that’s perfect.

The Compassionate

He self-identifies as a “moderate,” “centrist,” or “nothing at all, fed up with both parties.”

He is concerned about the plight of the less fortunate and wants to do right by them.

However, he has no problem with raising the taxes of strangers to achieve this. Often, the lodestar to his journey is “it won’t have any effect on me” and he is not the least bit shy about admitting this. He is not prepared to make a personal sacrifice. He wants others to do the sacrificing. He sees nothing out of kilter with this at all.

Examine, with him, the long-term effects of these programs. Example: Inspect the situation of “families” that have been raised within multi-generational “dynasties” of poverty and government dependence.

If kids require positive role models for living in a legal way — which is to say, if their statutory transgressions are to be excused, in whole or in part, because they lack a background by which they could’ve known any better — they must require a positive role model so they can live in a productive way, as well, yes?

Contemplate, with him, the ramifications of diminishing benefits for a family when a man lives in the home. Can you get him to acknowledge the obvious, that people respond to incentives? How, therefore, can a benefit differential not exert a force toward greater occurrences of single-parent homes, with all the burdens attendant to such a tragic situation?

The Pleaser

He has friends, or relatives, or both, who are registered democrats.

He wants to go along to get along. He is invested in the benefits of group membership, and this motivates him more powerfully than any ideological leaning. He is chasing a bandwagon. He wants to get on and stay on. Association is his primary motive.

You are dealing with a disadvantage because this person will “hook” into whichever argument he has heard first, and your points are not the ones he has heard first.

You cannot win this person over at one sitting. But you can get him started on the right path.

Give him an offering of the relevant information they have been missing.

Offer a few examples of liberal policy changes, accomplishing something remarkably different from what they were supposed to.

Include in these examples, anecdotes of goods and services becoming more expensive and harder to obtain as a result. This person, although he will not admit it, is motivated by self-interest. Connect some dots. Concentrate on extreme examples, like Jimmy Carter screwing up the economy. Show how bad things can get, how bad they have already been.

The Idol Worshipper

He is in love, not so much with the ideology of liberalism, but with its imperialistic vision.

His optimistic exuberance is recharged, inexplicably, by stories about a noted celebrity receiving greater authority, and perks of power. He celebrates Barack and Michelle Obama’s latest vacation, even though he does not know them personally and this does nothing for his situation, or to ease the suffering of anyone he personally knows. It is as if we are all better off when the sovereign can put another concubine in his harem.

He thinks, if only we can find the most wonderful individual within our midst and elevate him to the loftiest position of uncontested authority, it’ll all work out.

Has no appetite for details, let alone the working strategy to use against the stated problem, that would rely on such details.

This person is a fucking whackjob.

Do not engage.


The Pie Person

He is convinced — somehow — that every time one man makes a dollar, it becomes an unavoidable consequence that another man somewhere must lose a dollar.

Some fall short of being deceived in this way, but nurture a powerful hatred against financially successful people.

Educate him about some examples of businesses being started that helped everybody.

Remind him that businesses, as a general rule, must offer a good or service that will be consumed only with the full consent and intent of the buyer. Businesses therefore work according to voluntary transactions, as contrasted with governments, which work according to coerced ones.

Ponder, with him, how things might be if the businesses had never been formed.

If he rejects this, prepare to re-classify as Classist (see below).

The Treasury Raider

Many among their number think work is for suckers.

However, many others believe in hard work, and show it. Give due credit.

Their argument often is that you are the ignorant one, since you are failing to “vote your interest.”

They tend to see issues as one-sided, concerned only with what they will get out of the deal.

He thinks an election is a poll, by which you’re supposed to tell the government what kind of help you need.

Ask him what he thinks is the source of the money that pays for all of this.

From his answer, you need to arrive at a decision point.

If he says it comes from rich people and that’s how things should be, consider reclassifying him as a Pie Person (see above).

If he ignores it or brushes it off, try reminding him “there’s free cheese in a mouse trap.”

Rationale being, people who lust after free gifts, generally lust after power as well.

Perhaps he has not put much thought into the power he will be asked to relinquish, in exchange for these free gifts.

The Newsletter Subscriber

He is buried under an enormous printed mess of liberal propaganda, and he does not realize it.

He is often heard quoting some bogus study that says The Daily Show viewers are the best-informed, and Fox News viewers are the least-informed.

Educate him with some facts that he does not yet have.

Point out that when the Strategist (see above) has “debunked” an “urban myth”…no such debunking actually took place.

Do not tell him that he needs to find more diverse sources of his information. Allow him to conclude this on his own.

Watch for signs of anger or negative feeling. Help him to change the subject if he starts to show embarrassment.

Your own information can benefit from sending him some of your own sources, through the e-mail. If he comes up with poor excuses for ignoring this new information, such as “that’s from Fox News” for example, then you know that he is very far gone. In this case, be ready to re-classify him as a Pleaser (see above), and handle accordingly.

Try to inspire him to think, on his own, how they might end up embarrassed if they don’t take in more information. But do this without actually embarrassing him, or by directly pointing this out.

Wonder Palin!The DS Sufferer

He is emotionally invested in personality-hate-campaigns, ready to cast a vote to manifest loathing against some notable individual.

S/He suffers from RDS (Reagan Derangement Syndrome), GDS (Gingrich Derangement Syndrome), BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome), PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome), or the like.

Seems to think, if the person in question would just shut up and go away, and perhaps meet with an unfortunate accident as well, life will become wonderful for everybody.

Make pointed inquiries about the overall strategy; the target of hatred is banished, or injured, now how do things get better for others? Specifically?

Challenge the idea that the identified personality has “extreme” ideas. You might start by asking the Palinophobe exactly what the most extreme policy position of Sarah Palin has ever been, for example.

Point out that, as a practical matter, you don’t have anything against this person, because that person hasn’t done anything to hurt you. Use the phrase, “I don’t wanna be a hater.”

This has the effect of bringing shame on the Palinophobe as the more negative participant in the discourse — which is quite accurate, actually.

The Smug

He is eager to show off his superior intellect, his loftier altitude of thinking. He does this by pursuing exotic, impractical ideas, in such a way that he can be easily observed by those he seeks to impress.

He wants to be thought-of as capable of appreciating fine “nuanced” details of pressing situations, and of objects within them.

He places a disproportionate amount of thought energy into identifying these hidden facets, visible to him but unnoticed by others.

Since his argument often ends there, make inquiries about their long-term plans, objectives and visions.

For example: What is the objective of holding up construction on a dam, for sake of some dumb fish that’s in the way?

How will we know when or if this objective has been realized?

Also, what benchmarks can we use along the way, to make sure the plan is on the right track.

The Classist

He views our society as a vertical arrangement of impermeable classes layered on upon the other.

He looks forward to some revolutionary event, upon which “social justice” will somehow be done.

He labors under the misconception, or seems to labor under it anyway, that people are born “rich,” “poor” or something in between, and toil from cradle to grave confined within that particular layer.

Point out that in America, classes exist but they are fluid.

Offer some examples of people who started out with very little and made lots of money.

It also helps to offer examples of the reverse, people who started out rich and lost everything.

Also, use statistics to show that on average, as people go through life their financial situations change.

You are likely to find that you are dealing with something entirely emotion-based, in which case you will have to re-classify.

The Regulator

He describes a lot of problems in terms of industries/activities not being adequately “regulated.”

He seems to think that a few more laws in the books will fix everything, with no ill side-effects.

Nobody ever says “I want more government,” but it comes easy to these people to say things like “there ought to be a law.”

Seriously question what force there is that makes a regulator wiser or more benevolent than those he regulates. (Be sure and shoot me an e-mail if you EVER get a decent answer to this, I haven’t.)

Point out some anecdotal evidence about regulatory efforts gone wrong.

Ponder, with him, the true ramifications of the idea being proposed.

Example: A minimum wage of ten dollars an hour doesn’t “raise wages”; what it does, is outlaw any jobs that fall outside the parameter specified (greater than or equal to $10 per hour), leaving the person who would otherwise be hired, unemployed.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Rotten Chestnuts.

Action vs. Desire

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Here in California, the state legislature is re-elected with something close to 100 percent every two years, even though they’re about as popular as Chlamydia. So I am accustomed to what follows.

Obamacare sucks. I do not say that as a person who dislikes the program and the philosophy behind it, although I do and I do. What I mean by that is that it doesn’t do what it is supposed to do, and it doesn’t even come close to that. But, it passed both houses, the Supreme Court upheld it, President Obama was re-elected and hey, we’re keeping it. Even though it has never been very popular.

The “fiscal cliff deal” stinks on ice. Again, I do not say that as a person who can see through it or who is opposed to it, although I can and I am. It doesn’t help anyone, practically or politically, except for the crony capitalists I suppose. Someone somewhere said it was a big ol’ argument about our tax policy dressed up as a big ol’ argument about our debt…and I’m picking up that a lot of people are aware of this. But what was the popular viewpoint when our legislators were getting ready to hoodwink us on this? “They need to find ways to work together” or some rot like that.

Obama, as noted above, was re-elected.

Harry Reid remains in charge of the Senate.

Today, John Boehner was re-elected as Speaker of the House.

There is no significant change anywhere, even though the public at large is about as disenchanted with the way things are going, as they have been for quite some time. It’s like a bigger version of California. The electorate isn’t firing anyone, anywhere, and it isn’t because they’re pleased with the state of things. It’s because they’re tired. They’re not fixing anything because they don’t see how; and they refuse to admit that they don’t know what to do.

When people get that way, they generally decide to maintain the status quo. Even though they hate it. Their actions become antithetical to their desires. Because while they’re frustrated, they’re also confused and they’re also bored.

I think that’s what’s happening right now. It’s been happening for awhile.

Camel Sex

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

From Brother-in-Law…who has just been upgraded, he used to be called GBIL for “girlfriend’s brother-in-law.” Congratulations on the promotion Bruce!

A new Marine Captain was assigned to an outfit in a remote post in the Afghanistan Desert . During his first inspection of the outfit, he noticed a Camel hitched up behind the mess tent.

He asks the Sergeant why the camel is kept there.

The nervous sergeant said, ‘Well sir, as you know, there are 250 men here on the post and no women. And sir, sometimes the men have ‘urges’. That’s why we have Molly The Camel.’

The Captain says, ‘I can’t say that I condone this, but I understand about ‘urges’, so the camel can stay.’

About a month later, the Captain starts having his own ‘urges’. Crazy with passion, he asks the Sergeant to bring the camel to his tent. Putting a ladder behind the camel, the Captain stands on the ladder, pulls his pants down and has wild, insane sex with the camel. When he’s done, he asks the Sergeant,’Is that how the men do it?’

‘Not really, sir..They usually just ride the camel into town…… where the girls are.’